Coalition Government sets out farm policies Image

Coalition Government sets out farm policies

Created: Thursday 20 May 2010

THE coalition Government has outlined plans to cut red tape on farms, introduce a badger cull in TB hotspot and share the responsibility for animal disease policy.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat administration's ‘programme for government, published today (Thursday, May 20) also contains plans to introduce a supermarket ombudsman and introduce more honest food labelling.

Some of the main policies of relevance to farmers and rural dwellers are summarised here:

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We believe that much more needs to be done to support the farming industry, protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable food production.

  • We will take forward the findings of the Pitt Review to improve our flood defences, and prevent unnecessary building in areas of high flood risk

  • We will reduce the regulatory burden on farmers by moving to a risk-based system of regulation, and will develop a system of extra support for hill farmers.

  • We will investigate ways to share with livestock keepers the responsibility for preparing for and dealing with outbreaks of disease.

  • As part of a package of measures, we will introduce a carefully managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of bovine tuberculosis.

  • We will promote high standards of farm animal welfare.

  • We will ensure that food procured by government departments, and eventually the whole public sector, meets British standards of production wherever this can be achieved without increasing overall cost.

  • We will investigate measures to help with fuel costs in remote rural areas, starting with pilot schemes.

  • We will create a presumption in favour of sustainable development in the planning system.

  • We will bring forward a motion on a free vote enabling the House of Commons to express its view on the repeal of the Hunting Act.

Energy and Climate Change

  • We will seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.

  • We will establish a full system of feed-in tariffs in electricity - as well as the maintenance of banded Renewables Obligation Certificates.

  • We will introduce measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion.

Consumer Protection

  • We will introduce, as a first step, an Ombudsman in the Office of Fair Trading who can proactively enforce the Grocery Supply Code of Practice and curb abuses of power, which undermine our farmers and act against the long-term interest of consumers.

  • We will introduce honesty in food labelling so that consumers can be confident about where their food comes from and its environmental impact.

Communities and Local Government

  • We will promote ‘Home on the Farm' schemes that encourage farmers to convert existing buildings into affordable housing.

Deficit reduction

  • We will make modest cuts of £6 billion to non-front-line services within the financial year 2010/11, subject to advice from the Treasury and the Bank of England on their feasibility and advisability.

  • We will reduce the number and cost of quangos.

Immigration

  • We will introduce an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. 

Business

  • We will cut red tape by introducing a ‘one-in, one-out' rule whereby no new regulation is brought in without other regulation being cut by a greater amount.

  • We will end the culture of ‘tick-box' regulation, and instead target inspections on high-risk organisations.

  • We will impose ‘sunset clauses' to ensure that the need for each regulation is regularly reviewed.

  • We will give the public the opportunity to challenge the worst regulations.

  • We will end the so-called ‘gold-plating' of EU rules.

  • We will support the creation of Local Enterprise Partnerships - joint local authority-business bodies brought forward by local authorities themselves to promote local economic development - to replace Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). These may take the form of the existing RDAs in areas where they are popular.

Source - Farmers Guardian, www.farmersguardian.com

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