Defra Bids to Cut Red Tape

Article excerpt

Byline: FL2 ER

PROPOSALS for more environmentally sensitive and sustainable farming under a simpler, less bureaucratic system of support in England have been published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Last month Secretary of State, Margaret Beckett,, announced that England would adopt a new flat-rate Single Farm Payment to be paid from 2005, phased in over eight years. She also pledged to work with the industry to implement Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) changes.

Discussions are continuing in Brussels on European Commission technical rules for implementing the CAP reforms. Ministers want to consult now on some aspects of the detailed proposals linked to the new Single Farm Payment in England.

The new payments will be subject to new 'cross-compliance' standards designed to deliver positive environmental outcomes.

Those who claim the single payment will have to meet environmental, animal health and welfare, public health and plant health conditions too under a range of existing European laws, to improve the sustainability of agriculture and to give extra protection to the environment, soil, wildlife habitats and the landscape. …