Peers push risk-based approach

Source: FWi 05 December 2002

PEERS have called for a fresh approach to the way environmental regulations are imposed on the farming industry.

A report by the House of Lords European Union Select Committee has urged the government to take more of a risk-based approach to environmental legislation.

The report, published on Thursday, 5 December, said that systems should rely more on self-regulation and less on formal policing by enforcement agencies.

A true partnership between the regulator and the regulated should also be encouraged, said the report. This would help make sure rules were workable and effective.

Chairman of the inquiry, the Earl of Selborne, said a new approach was necessary.

"Farmers are inundated with regulations and advice from many different sources. The burden of paperwork threatens to overwhelm smaller businesses.

"Government and its agencies need to work more closely together to help farmers meet environmental goals. The key to this is a 'whole-farm approach'," he said.

The report has been produced because, despite the farming industry's problems, a mass of new environmental rules are on the way.

There are more than 50 items of environmental legislation in the pipeline and it is estimated that two-fifths will affect farmers.

These include the Waste Framework Directive, Water Framework Directive and the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directives.