A new report published by Glenys Stacey, chair of the FIRR, estimated that over 150,000 inspections take place on farms each year by multiple authorities but has proposed that a “single field force” to conduct “more meaningful farm inspections, as part of a more flexible, proportionate regulation”.
Other proposed changes include the introduction of technology to conduct inspections such as using satellite imagery to check compliance. The interim report has been welcomed by the NFU and that a new system that supports farm business is “crucial”.
NFU president Minette Batters, said: “This interim report is a step in the right direction and it rightly recognises many of the issues farmers face as a result of the current regulation and inspection regime. I am pleased to see the report acknowledge many issues in the current system such as regulators not understanding farm businesses and a culture of inspecting for failure.
“It is crucial that a new system is fit for purpose, supports farm businesses and allows them to continue producing safe, traceable and affordable food. The proposed restructure of farm regulation and inspection is a unique opportunity to drive cultural change for the better and has the potential to move to a more efficient, outcome-based system. The NFU is keen to engage in the review process as it continues through the year.”