To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with (a) the National Farmers Union and (b) others on her Department's policy on sheep electronic identification movements and the requirement to read tags all of the time; and if she will make a statement.
The National Farmers Union and other industry representative bodies are consulted regularly on sheep identification issues.
DEFRA is aware of concerns that incomplete individual animal data in on farm movement records will result in reductions to single farm payments if found during cross compliance inspections. Such inspections take place on 3% of sheep holdings annually.
Applying a record keeping tolerance risks an EU disallowance fine of several millions of pounds and doing so in 2011 would have saved only five keepers in England an estimated total of £2,680 in reductions, although DEFRA continues to keep the situation under review.