Defra Secretary Michael Gove has used his speech at NFU conference to announce a ‘long overdue’ review of the farming inspection regime.
Mr Gove told the audience he had ordered the review because the inspection regime remained ‘unwieldy’, despite several recent attempts at simplification.
One such attempt took place in 2011, when the Government ordered the Farming Regulation Taskforce, chaired by Richard Macdonald, to come up with ways to cut red tape for farmers.
The taskforce recommended developing the principle of ‘earned recognition’, where farmers with a strong track record of reliability could have their inspections reduced, but Mr Gove felt this had not gone far enough.
He said: “Every year, farmers are confronted by a barrage of inspections from different agencies, often duplicating costs in both time and money.
“I am delighted to announce Dame Glenys Stacey will be conducting a thorough and comprehensive review of this regime, seeing how these inspections can be removed, reduced or improved to reduce the burden on farmers while maintaining and enhancing our animal and plant health standards.
“This review is not only long overdue, but also very timely as we design future farming policy and maximise the opportunities of leaving the EU.
“It will provide answers to some key general questions to guide our future approach, subject to the outcome of our negotiations with the EU.”
Dame Glenys Stacey was formerly chief executive of Animal Health, the precursor to APHA, where she was responsible for containing the 2007 outbreak of food and mouth disease.
She also sparred with Mr Gove during her time heading up Ofqual, the examinations regulator, when he was Education Secretary and planned to scrap GCSEs.