NFU Scotland’s campaign to put an end to unnecessary regulation gathered
pace again this week with a detailed document submitted to the Davidson Review,
the independent inquiry looking into over-regulation. In its submission,
NFUS argues that the regulatory system has spun out of control with new rules
and charges being imposed on the agricultural industry despite no evidence
of them delivering public benefit.
Neil Davidson QC, the Advocate General for Scotland, has been commissioned
by the UK Government to conduct an independent review into how the UK implements
European legislation. The primary aim of the review is to identify and tackle ‘gold-plated’ regulation,
which goes beyond the minimum required by Brussels.
NFUS is proposing a new model for dealing with EU legislation to maximise
public benefit, eliminate the growth of needless red tape and put common
sense back into the decision-making process.
Amongst the examples used by NFUS to highlight over-the-top regulation are
Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, the Water Framework Directive and the Integrated
Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive.
NFUS Vice President Jim McLaren said:
“The regulatory system is spinning out of control and the farming
industry is losing confidence in it. I know as a farmer I have my responsibilities
to the countryside, food chain and animal welfare, but, as an industry, we
will not accept new regulations being imposed on us with no explanation as
to why they are necessary or whether they will deliver any public benefit
“Too often, I believe government runs scared of Brussels. It adopts
a blunt, one-size-fits-all approach to regulation rather than argue the often
fully justified case for more proportionate implementation.
“If we have an environmental or other kind of problem in Scotland,
let’s first identify it, then decide how best to tackle it. Instead,
we seem to have a ‘regulate first, ask questions later’ culture.
The threatened ban on the use of tallow and charges under the water abstraction
and IPPC schemes are just a few recent examples of how red tape can cost
the industry millions with little explanation as to the benefit.
“We are willing to work closely with government and enforcement authorities
to come up with a system which is targeted and proportionate. But they need
to convince us that their regulation will deliver benefits, not just raise
revenue for them – frankly, they are not doing that at the moment.
“Our new model will benefit government by streamlining its regulatory
activity and save the industry from a growing list of costs which is threatening
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