The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has launched an inquiry into implementing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This inquiry aims to assess how current policy works and whether it benefits the environment, whist ensuring that food production can be properly maintained.
There are concerns regarding the increased cost of production as well as the regulation involved with farming. Recent issues such as the supermarket horsemeat scandal are likely to further complicate this and there is concern that this may potentially lead to increased regulation.
Working in conjunction with the European Commission the aim of EU leaders was quoted as “a greener, fairer and less bureaucratic CAP”. While a lot of the reforms will come into effect in 2014, member states have been given until 2015 in order to give member states time to adapt.
There were several elements that the government is looking at in order to ensure that the CAP is workable in terms of British agricultural and environmental issues, including:
- Fairness- There is the concern that British farmers will be at a disadvantage compared with other European farmers, and that farmers in upland areas may have problems adapting to the new CAP. Furthermore there are issues regarding common land that need to be addressed.
- Bureaucracy- How to reduce the level of bureaucracy involved with the CAP and defining the minimum level of activity in order to be defined as an “active farmer.”
- “Greening”- Ensuring that farming can be both environmentally friendly and offer effective food security and production.
- Lessons learnt- Looking at what the government can learn from the CAP.