Moves to cut red tape for farmers

Mr Lochhead proposes working with farmers to cut red tape (Picture by Petar Miloševi?)

A DRIVE to cut needless bureaucracy for Scottish farmers was launched today by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.

A working group is being established to consider how to reduce the red tape associated with farming. This fulfils a Scottish Government commitment to look at how best to help farmers free up time for farming by reducing on-farm inspections and bureaucracy.

Mr Lochhead said: “We’ve already made good progress on reducing bureaucracy for farmers – the SEARS initiative has delivered a reduction of over 8,000 visits and inspections to date – and I’m keen to build on that. Farmers and the wider rural community often tell me there is still some way  to go.

“However, this is not something which government can deliver alone. We need to work closely with farmers, rural communities, and government at all levels to ensure that we achieve a workable solution.

“It’s crucially important that our farmers are free to do what they do best – producing food for the nation and managing our magnificent landscape – without getting bogged down in reams of paperwork.

“However, this does need to be balanced against the importance of monitoring to ensure public money is being well spent and this will be particularly important in light of the current CAP reform negotiations.

“I look forward to receiving the group’s final report and I’m sure all those involved in Scottish farming will welcome this drive to streamline bureaucracy and free up our farmers to farm.”