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Lorries alighting from Ferry

The UK border: preparedness for EU exit update

This memorandum supports the Public Accounts Committee’s examination of the government’s preparedness for ‘no deal’

Published:
27 Feb 2019
Report cover showing sheep

The Sheep Annual Premium Scheme in England

“I am pleased that the Ministry has in large measure addressed the problems of flock records and urge them to continue working with farmers to get it right. This will help to protect the taxpayer from the risk of losing reimbursement from European funds. It will also assist farmers in satisfying scheme rules so that they can get the benefit of a scheme which is providing valuable support at a time of crisis in the industry.”

Published:
10 Mar 2000
Report cover showing cows grazing in a meadow

The health of livestock and honeybees in England

“Defra eradicated outbreaks of Avian Influenza and Foot and Mouth Disease in 2007 before they could spread further. But Bovine Tuberculosis and the Varroa parasite continue to pose significant risks to the livelihoods of farmers and beekeepers. The Department could tackle disease more effectively by working with farmers and their vets to improve farm biosecurity, and by enforcing compulsory testing as well as encouraging beekeepers to register.”

Published:
4 Mar 2009
Report cover showing farmland

The delays in administering the 2005 Single Payment Scheme in England

“In paring back the work required to get the single payment scheme ready on time, the Agency underestimated the effort involved in processing claims, but also left itself without the management information it needed to take control of the situation. As a result, many farmers faced unacceptable delays before getting their money and the Agency made mistakes in paying out the correct amount. Unpicking what has gone wrong will take some time.

“Foremost among the Agency’s priorities now must be to determine if the administrative and computer systems for mapping land and processing claims are really up to the job. Until that happens, there is little prospect the problems will be remedied in time to deal with the 2006 claims.”

Published:
18 Oct 2006
Report cover showing a farm with possible Foot and mouth disease

The 2001 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease

“This outbreak had a devastating effect on the rural economy and parts of the tourist industry. We must acknowledge that it was of an unprecedented nature and magnitude. In the light of what happened, urgent action is needed to produce contingency plans which would be more sensitive to outbreaks of different scales and thus be better suited to dealing with a future crisis on this scale. Moreover, further research must be carried out into effective measures for tackling foot and mouth. And the means for ensuring minimum standards of cost and financial control in crisis conditions must be established.

“There are lessons to be learned for the whole of government from the foot and mouth crisis. Departments need to be aware of the major threats in their areas of business and to have contingency plans in place which conform with best practice on risk management.”

Published:
21 Jun 2002
Swans and boat on water

Tackling diffuse water pollution in England

The Environment Agency’s approach to tackling diffuse water pollution, such as run-off from agricultural land, has not, to date, proved value for money. The development of River Basin Management Plans now offers an opportunity to target work by the Agency and others to tackle this complex problem.

Published:
8 Jul 2010