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Ministers publish Better Regulation Review Panel report

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA and Environment Minister Sammy Wilson MP, MLA today published the Agri-Food Better Regulation and Simplification Review report.

The Report is the work of an independent panel consisting of Michael Dowling (chair), David Graham and Brian Jack. The Panel was established by both Ministers at the end of 2007 to examine the regulatory burden placed on the agri-food industry by their respective Departments and to come forward with recommendations on how this burden could be reduced without undermining the underlying objectives of regulation.

Commenting on the report, Minister Gildernew said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Review panel for a thorough and detailed report. The recommendations are wide ranging and provide us with plenty of food for thought. We now need to give careful consideration to the issues raised and to take soundings from stakeholders. I hope to be in a position to issue an implementation plan in the autumn which will lay out how my Department intends to respond to these proposals, along with an associated time line. In the meantime, I would very much welcome views and comments from stakeholders on the contents of this report and ask that these be forwarded to my Department by no later than 30 September.”

The Minister continued: “At a time when farmers and agri-businesses are looking to the Executive for support and assistance, I believe better regulation has a lot to offer in delivering practical help and reducing costs.”

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson added: “I see this as a very worthwhile exercise and recognise that some of the burdens are associated with environmental regulations. I am committed to working with the various stakeholders to ensure that regulations are reasonable and balanced.”

“Expectations are high, and are focused on practical measures that make it easier for business to comply with regulation.”

The Northern Ireland Agri-Food Better Regulation and Simplification Review report can be accessed online at:

Notes to Editors:

1. The aims of the Better Regulation Review panel were to:

  • establish a baseline financial estimate of the administrative burden put on farmers and agri-business by DARD and DOE regulations;
  • suggest simplification measures for existing regulations and steps to screen new policy;
  • Recommend structures and processes needed to embed Better Regulation in the DARD and DOE/NIEA business culture.

2. The Better Regulation Review report makes a total of 85 recommendations including:

  • 60 individual recommendations on simplification measures aimed at reducing administrative burdens. These take the form of outline proposals requiring further consideration to assess feasibility, implementation options and timescale for execution.
  • A further 25 recommendations aimed at embedding better regulation principles at the core of future policy development and delivery in DARD and DOE.

3. Individuals or organisations wishing to comment on the content of this report are invited to do so by no later than 30 September 2009. All input should be forwarded by email to or by post to The Better Regulation Unit, Room 349A, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3SB.

4. All media queries to DARD Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or DOE Press Office on 028 9054 0003. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Office via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.