CAP Reform Creates Platform for New Apporach to Cross-Compliance

NFU Scotland has mapped out its vision for a new cross-compliance regime that would see farmers work with officials on improving rule keeping rather than constantly farming under the threat of inspection and penalties.

The Union believes that the ongoing discussion around the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) opens up the potential to create a more constructive compliance system.

The Union would support the creation of an advisory service to assist farmers, an outcome-based approach to regulations and a more proportionate penalty regime for those found to have breached rules when inspected.

NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker said:

“CAP Reform proposals open up the potential of creating an advisory service to assist all farmers with their understanding of the rules. Working with farmers, the service could map out an action plan for farmers to follow, and while completing that action plan farmers are lifted out of the threat of inspection and penalties being imposed on support payments.

“Allowing Government officials to deliver advice and support – rather than simply carrying out inspection and enforcement – is a move that farmers would welcome.  It would rebuild the positive and pragmatic relationship between farmers and officials to a level that many can still recall as being commonplace years ago. This would be a proactive route to delivering compliance and drive forward standards on farm.

“With the new CAP schemes under discussion, there is also the opportunity to re-write the compliance rules and associated penalty levels. There needs to be focus on outcomes rather than a strict adherence to procedures and rules. If farmers are delivering on what the desired outcome of any regulation is, then no penalties should apply even if rules are not strictly adhered to.

“Where penalties are to apply, then we need a fresh look at proportionality. Our current system has the potential to impose swingeing cuts in a farm’s support for relatively minor infringements.  Where there has been no deliberate attempt to defraud and genuine mistakes made then the levels of penalty imposed must be given a degree of perspective.”


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006



Date Published:

News Article No.: 207/11

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