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Have your say on farming regulation

FARMERS CAN go online to air their views on the regulation of Scottish farming from today.

The public e-consultation – a key part of Brian Pack's wider review of farming bureaucracy - will allow farmers, land mangers, the wider agricultural supply chain and anyone with an interest in farming to engage in constructive online discussions about how Scottish farming should be regulated in future.

The public phase will build on online dialogue that has already started between people involved in regulating the industry.

Among the topics which have been highlighted are:

- Simplifying cattle identification and traceability - the biggest cause of cross compliance failure in Scotland

- Making better use of online resources and communication between farmers / land managers and the regulators

- Simplifying sheep traceability - is the current Scottish system going beyond what is required by the EU?

- Streamlining regulatory paperwork and inspections to free up time for farmers to farm

- Considering how best to encourage farmers to minimise pollution and climate change impacts without unnecessary regulation

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead commissioned Mr Pack to carry out the Doing Better regulatory review, building on the progress that had already been made to streamline rural regulation under the SEARS initiative.

He said: "We're determined to free up farmers to do what they do best – put food on our tables and manage our magnificent natural landscape.

"This e-consultation is an opportunity for people to get involved in the debate and help to shape and improve the future regulatory framework.

"The user friendly online tool has been tried and tested and is designed to allow the public to have a constructive discussion and to comment on other people's ideas. I look forward to hearing more about the topics, ideas and discussions which emerge throughout the six-month consultation period."

Mr Pack said: "I have been impressed by the positive attitude of officials trying to reduce the regulatory burden. That said, there is still anecdotal evidence of regulation that could be better. Our intention is to capture these examples in a positive solution centred way by empowering all who care to take part in the Farm Regulation – Doing Better Dialogue."

"My belief is that the regulated – farmers and land managers – and the officials who regulate hold the key to "Doing Better" and by providing this discussion platform contributors, anonymous if they wish, can help tease out the solutions. The prize of finding ways to free up farmers and land mangers time to practice their profession will surely encourage participation and deliver a positive outcome."

The online discussion is available by visiting http://farmregulation-doingbetter.org

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