Select Committee on Regulatory Reform Thirteenth Report


Necessary Protection

Letter from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the Clerk of the Committee

Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Sugar Beet Research and Education) Order

Thank you for your letter of 26 July. We note the concern of the Committee about smaller growers who may not be members of the NFU, but believe we can offer reassurances on this point.

The NFU is consulted by Ministers on the sugar beet research programme under the current arrangements because they are recognised under section 17 of the Sugar Act 1956 as being substantially representative of the growers of sugar beet in the United Kingdom pursuant to section 7(3) of the European Communities Act 1972.

Processors and growers of sugar beet in the EU are required to enter into an agreement (in the UK known as the Inter-Professional Agreement or IPA) setting out the contract between them. In the UK the IPA is between British Sugar as the sole processor and the NFU who undertake "to act as...... the agent of each of the growers". This includes growers who are not members of the NFU (fewer than 20% of UK sugar beet growers are not members of the NFU). Indeed, sugar beet growers who are not members of the NFU are nevertheless represented by the NFU in a number of ways, for example by the NFU presence in each sugar beet factory (monitoring the sampling process when lorries first arrive) in addition to representation at the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO).

Growers who are not members of the NFU can contact either their local NFU Representative or British Sugar Area Manager about the BBRO research programme. The local NFU or British Sugar representative will in turn pass their comments on to the relevant BBRO Board Member. Comments from all growers on the BBRO's research programme are be welcomed by the board.

Information on the direction and progress of the BBRO's research programme is passed to all growers irrespective of NFU membership or the size of their contract with British Sugar. Equally all are invited to attend British Sugar's regular meetings on technology transfer and new developments in the industry.

7 August 2002

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