A more supportive, flexible and incentives-led approach to farming regulation has been recommended as part of wide-ranging review into the sector.
The report, by Dame Glenys Stacey, concludes that the current regulation of the farming sector – with its one-size-fits-all rules-based approach – is far too inflexible. Leaving the EU provides the opportunity to do things differently.
The report recommends a new independent regulator that would be supportive of farmers’ individual circumstances, offering them practical advice, guidance and helping to incentivise good practice.
NFU president Minette Batters said: “Dame Glenys Stacey’s review sets an ambitious agenda for the future regulation of British farming. Her recommendations have the potential to deliver a regulation and inspection regime that is not only fit for purpose, but also promotes a culture where regulators and farm businesses work together.
“This is one part of the change needed, alongside an Agriculture Bill focused on agricultural purposes and agricultural land, that will assist farming to become more productive, profitable and sustainable in the future.”
Mrs Batters added: “The primary recommendation is to establish a single regulator in place of five Defra bodies and local authorities. This would be a major change in how regulation is delivered.
“A new regulator should be able to incentivise a new domestic farm policy. While we applaud the aspiration, it must not be rushed; time is needed to detail how this system would look, how it is funded, its governance and what the impact would be on farm.
“Any new system must restore confidence in our regulatory system, support farm businesses and allow them to continue producing safe, traceable and affordable food for the nation.”