New Farming Rules to Protect Water

Monday 9th April 2018 in

New regulations to prevent diffuse water pollution in England came into force on April 2.

The rules will:

  • promote good practice in managing fertilisers and manures;
  • encourage land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse pollution from runoff or soil erosion; and
  • require soil tests at least every 5 years.

Soil testing will be phased in so that tests carried out in the four years before the rules came into effect can be taken into account.

There will be eight rules:

  • Rule 1: planning use of manures and fertilisers;
  • Rule 2: storing organic manures
  • Rule 3: applying manures or fertilisers
  • Rule 4: where not to apply organic manures
  • Rule 5: where not to apply fertiliser
  • Rule 6: reasonable precautions to prevent soil erosion
  • Rule 7: protecting against soil erosion by livestock
  • Rule 8: position of livestock feeders

The Environment Agency (EA) will be the regulator for these rules, and compliance checks will be carried out through its existing programme of work with farmers.

The EA will provide advice on how to meet the rules and help make sure you are compliant. The EA can use its formal enforcement powers where necessary to ensure compliance and to prevent or stop pollution, although Defra expects that most cases will be dealt with advice and if necessary, the use of civil sanctions like compliance notices, with prosecution reserved for where other enforcement actions have failed.

We will be publishing the details of each new rule over the next week…