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Stackyard News Jan 07

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    NFUS Red Tape Campaign Taken To Parliament

NFU Scotland’s fight for an overhaul of the regulatory system was taken to the Scottish Parliament today with evidence being presented to MSPs. 


galloway cattle
The Union’s Chief Executive Andy Robertson and Deputy Chief Executive James Withers told members of the Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee that overly burdensome and ineffective regulation is putting a huge strain on Scotland’s farming industry and rural areas.

The Committee is conducting an inquiry, led by Jim Wallace MSP, into how Scotland implements European Directives and Regulations.

NFUS has stressed that whilst good regulation delivers benefits to all, there is a distinct lack of meaningful debate on the justification for new regulation or the effectiveness of current red tape.  NFUS is calling for a new system of regulatory review, including a requirement on all government departments and agencies to reduce the burden of red tape.  It is also urging new regulation to be subject to far greater scrutiny to ensure it is effective and proportionate.

Speaking ahead of giving evidence, NFUS Chief Executive Andy Robertson said:

“Regulation will always be a part of modern-day agriculture.  However, there in an unprecedented level of concern, across all major industries, at the disproportionate nature of red tape being thrust onto business.  It imposes huge costs, with little apparent public benefit.

“As an example, there is current debate over future controls in our Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.  No-one argues with the principle of protecting water quality from nitrates, but we are faced with Scottish Executive proposals for major new restrictions, that will cost some farms tens of thousands of pounds, but not backed up by any sound science to justify them.  It appears to be an over-the-top reaction to pressure from Brussels to review NVZ controls –that is no way to draw up effective regulation.”

NFUS Deputy Chief Executive James Withers, a member of the Union’s Regulation Action Group, said:

“There is little attempt to assess the effectiveness of current regulation.  As a result, we end up with a continual stream of regulations, stacked on top of each other, which cover the same issues.  The large costs imposed on farmers come with virtually no explanation of the benefits being delivered in return.  It is hardly surprising therefore that there is a perception, rife within industry, that regulation has as much to do with government raising revenue as actually protecting the environment or consumers.

“We need a sea change in approach from all levels of government.  It must be required to cut the existing red tape burden and ensure that all new rules meet the five principles of better regulation; proportionate, accountable, consistent, targeted and transparent.  We have too many regulations that meet none of those principles.” 

link NFUS Requests Changes To Cattle Passport Rules
link Hill Sheep Sector Concern Over Prices
link Scottish Farmers Campaign Reaches Scottish Parliament

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