Country Land Association backs Owen Paterson’s pledges on red tape, biotech and BTB

The CLA today backed Environment Secretary Owen Paterson’s pledges to slash £1billion of the red tape suffered by farmers, eradicate bTB and support biotech crops.

CLA President Henry Robinson said at the Oxford Farming Conference that the industry had suffered for too long from an excess of bureaucracy.

Mr Robinson said: “I am encouraged by the Environment Secretary’s commitment to slash £1billion of farming industry red tape over the next five years.

“We welcome his commitment to removing £13 of compliance costs for every pound added and removing two regulations for every one added.”

The CLA also praised Mr Paterson’s promises to simplify the definition of livestock holdings in England, phase out cattle tracing links and sole occupancy authorities and streamline the entire process. Mr Robinson said: “This all sounds like very good news for land managers.”

The CLA President praised the Environment Secretary’s strong backing for farmers “having access to the widest possible range of technologies” including Genetically Modified (GM) crops.

He said: “While almost no one believes GM is a total solution to food security, it should be available to farmers where evidence shows it is safe and suitable.”

The CLA President welcomed Mr Paterson’s restated commitment not to “shy away from the difficult decisions required to stop” bovine TB.

He added: “Mr Paterson was right to pay tribute to the farmers and landowners who have undertaken the trial culls in Gloucestershire and Somerset, often in the face of intimidation by a small minority determined to stop disease control.

“I am pleased he pointed out that significant numbers of diseased badgers have been removed and that farmers in those areas are confident they will see a reduction in the disease.

“The CLA applauds his commitment to take the tough decisions required to stop this disease, a policy that will eventually lead to healthy badgers living alongside healthy cattle.”