Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said she will scrap red tape to help farmers once Britain leaves the EU.
Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference to leaders from the food and farming industry, the minister and prominent Brexit supporter highlighted EU regulations that she said are weighing down farmers in mountains of paperwork and stopping them getting on with the job of growing food.
Dealing with red tape and farm inspections is estimated to cost the industry £5 million per year and the loss of 300,000 hours, Leadsom said, arguing that a system which tries to meet the needs of 28 countries has held farmers back.
Leadsom told the conference: “By cutting the red tape that comes out of Brussels, we will free our farmers to grow more, sell more and export more great British food whilst upholding our high standards for plant and animal health and welfare.
“My priority will be common sense rules that work for the United Kingdom.
“Following the UK’s departure from the EU, we will be free to scrap rules requiring farmers and rural businesses to pay for and display billboards or posters to publicise the EU contribution for grants to grow their businesses. These signs – measuring as much as 6ft x 4ft for the biggest grants – must be displayed permanently to avoid a penalty.
“Reduce the amount of paperwork flood-hit farmers need to provide to support claims for repairs for recovery of their land, allowing them to get on with urgent building work more quickly.
Reduce the number of government inspections on farms, by streamlining them or replacing them by better use of aerial photography. We’ve already cut 4,000 inspections this year and aim to remove 20,000 by 2020.”