New farming initiative aims to cut red tape

The NFU and the Environment Agency have launched a new initiative which it hopes will cut red tape and reduce costs for pig and chicken farmers.

The farm assurance scheme for pig and poultry producers who are regulated through the Environmental Permitting Regulations will save around £850 of Environment Agency charges per farm, the NFU estimates.

NFU acting director general Martin Haworth said: “This is a groundbreaking better regulation initiative designed to minimise the burden on the farming industry. Both the NFU and the Environment Agency are very conscious of the need to reduce the administrative pressures on the pig and poultry sectors, and of the need for an industry with very tight margins to be competitive.”

The scheme has been developed with Assured Food Standards and with the support of the National Pig Association and the British Poultry Council.

The NFU added that the scheme will mean that there will be just one inspection per year instead of three for farmers who qualify by achieving a high standard of compliance under their permit.

Certification bodies, trained by the Environmental Agency, will carry out the inspections as an adjunct to the audits for Red Tractor farm assurance.

“This approach will mean a reduction in cost and red tape for producers as well as protecting the environment. Fewer visits to farms will be required. It is a good example of where the agriculture industry and the Environment Agency have worked together to help reduce costs for producers and reward farmers that have demonstrated good environmental practice,” Haworth added.