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New farming rules for water are now in effect in UK

Staff Writer |
Farmers are being reminded that Defra’s new farming rules for water will come into force from the beginning of next week.

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The regulations, which came into force on Monday, have been introduced in order to minimise water pollution from farming practices.

While the new rules will mean nothing more than tweaks to current methods for many farmers, for others the effect will be more pronounced. David Kirwan, managing partner at Kirwans law firm said:

“Defra appears to be taking a common sense approach with these changes, and has said it will work with farmers by providing advice on how to meet the rules and help make sure they are compliant.

“Although Defra does have the powers to prosecute in cases of non-compliance, it has explained that this will be the last port of call.”

The new legislation is set out through eight rules, five of which concern the management of fertilisers and manures, while three focus on managing soils.

A number of requirements are set out for farmers, including:

- The testing of soils and plan manure and fertiliser applications to meet soil and crop nutrient needs;

- Assessing storage of organic soils to ensure minimum distances from water bodies are adhered to;

- Assessing impact of weather on soil conditions and ensure minimum distances from water bodies before applying fertiliser and manure;

- Taking precautions to avoid significant soil erosion and runoff; Meeting criteria on the positioning of livestock feeders.

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