The NFU promoted the interests of British farmers at an Environment Audit Committee meeting in the House of Commons earlier this week.
Participants assessed the EU’s environmental policies and objectives and how they work to tackle the UK’s environmental issues.
The committee aims to inform the debate ahead of the 2017 referendum on EU membership. NFU chief environment adviser Dr Diane Mitchell went to highlight parts of EU policies which hinder farm businesses in the UK, and also initiatives that British farmers welcome.
During the debate she said: “Some farmers do have real difficulties with the precautionary principle whereby they have to prove their activities are not having an impact on a nearby protected habitat under the Habitats Directive.
“Disproving a negative is incredibly difficult thing to do and it’s a costly burden for farmers in the UK.
“The Nitrates Directive is outdated, prescriptive and focuses on processes rather than outcomes. It imposes high costs to agriculture, and particularly the livestock sector.
“Onto more positive things, the European Commission’s better regulation initiative ‘Refit’ is welcome. This mechanism which reviews existing EU legislation to check that it is still meeting its objectives whilst still allowing businesses to grow is important.”