Agriculture minister Michelle O’Neill has made clear her commitment to better and simpler regulation of the agri-food sector.
In her response to a written question from SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly, Mrs O’Neill explained that her department had committed to reduce the administrative burden on the sector by 25%
The minister said: “A re-measurement exercise, using the Standard Cost Methodology that was used to measure the original baseline, was undertaken in 2011 to assess progress towards the interim reduction figure of 15%.
That process is currently being validated in partnership with industry representatives however as my officials informed the Agriculture Committee in December 2011 the reduction is likely to be in the order of 4.3%.
This figure relates to those regulatory areas within the NI Better Regulation and Simplification Review.
It does not, however, reflect any additional simplification measures taken by the department outside the scope of the review.
“Nevertheless, it is a disappointing measure of progress so far but an indicator of the difficulties and the challenging nature of trying to reduce the administrative burden while ensuring that the appropriate level of safeguards and control remain in place for the protection of the industry and the safety of the general public and also the fact that the majority of our regulations are driven by national and EU legislation.”
She added: “I remain committed to the drive for better and simpler regulation wherever possible.”
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