MSP’s call for action to boost food production red tape

Peter Chapman MSP
Peter Chapman MSP

A north east MSP has today called for unnecessary regulations to be scrapped in order to boost food production in Scotland.

Peter Chapman, the Scottish Conservative’s Rural Affairs spokesman, has written to the SNP government to raise his concerns that red tape north of the border is damaging competitiveness.

In a letter to Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, Mr Chapman asked the SNP minister to stick to his previous commitment to look again at Greening rules.

Currently, Scottish farmers are subject to additional restrictions on food production that the NFU Scotland has said “puts Scottish growers at a competitive disadvantage with respect to our competitors in England”.

The growing of vining peas is particularly affected by Scottish Government Greening rules that impose restrictions on harvesting dates, require two varieties of peas and have led to Scottish businesses paying higher rental rates than those in England.

Mr Chapman’s demand for the removal of damaging restrictions comes as the UK Government recently announced a consultation on reducing red tape for farmers in England.

Commenting, Mr Chapman said: “Fergus Ewing rightly committed to looking again at Scottish Greening rules but now he needs to deliver results.

“English farmers already have a competitive advantage over those here in Scotland because of how the SNP have implemented EU rules, adding extra controls where none were needed.

“These restrictions could lead to a situation where more and more vining pea production is moved to England and away from the North East and Borders.

“With the UK Government coming out in favour of less red tape after Brexit, Fergus Ewing has the opportunity to level the playing field and boost Scottish food production.”