An Overview – New farming rules for water | Aardvark Environment Matters
30November201714:54

An Overview – New farming rules for water

by Ross Malton

About the new rules

 From April 2018 all farmers in England will need to follow a new set of farming rules for water.

 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
  • Require soil tests at least every 5 years

 Why are these rules being put in place:

 Water pollution from agriculture not only damages wildlife in our rivers and seas, it also affects our economy. It results in higher water bills from increased water treatment, impacts on tourism and affects our shellfish industry. Diffuse pollution consists of numerous small pollution incidents which individually have little impact but collectively can be very damaging. The farming rules for water are designed to work with farmers to address pollution risks in a proportionate and collaborative way.

Summary of the rules:

Rule 1: Planning use of manures and fertilisers

Application of organic manures and manufactured fertilisers to cultivated land must be planned in advance to meet soil and crop nutrient needs and not exceed these levels.

Rule 2: Storing organic manures

Organic manures must not be stored on land:

  • within 10 metres of inland freshwater or coastal waters
  • where there is significant risk of pollution entering inland freshwaters of coastal waters
  • within 50 metres of a spring, well or borehole

 Rule 3: Applying manures or fertilisers

Organic manures or manufactured fertilisers must not be applied:

  • if the soil is waterlogged, flooded or snow covered
  • if the soil has been frozen for more than 12 hours in the previous 24 hours
  • if there is significant risk of causing pollution

 

Rule 4: where not to apply organic manures

Organic manures must not be applied:

  • within 10 metres of any inland freshwaters or coastal waters, or within 6 metres of inland freshwaters or coastal waters, or within 6 metres of inland freshwaters or coastal waters if precision equipment is used
  • within 50metres of a spring, well or borehole

 Rule 5: where not to apply fertilisers

Manufactured fertiliser must not be applied within 2 metres of  inland freshwaters or coastal waters

Rule 6: Reasonable precautions to prevent soil erosion

You must take all reasonable precautions to prevent significant soil erosion and runoff from:

  • the application of organic manure and manufactured fertiliser
  • land management and cultivation practices (such as seedbeds, tramlines, row, beds, stubbles, polytunnels and irrigation)
  • poaching by livestock

Rule 7: protecting against soil erosion by livestock

Any land within 5 metres of inland freshwaters and coastal waters must be protected from significant soil erosion by preventing poaching by livestock.

 Rule 8: Position of livestock feeders

Livestock feeders must not be positioned:

  • within 10 metres of any inland freshwaters or coastal waters
  • within 50 metres of a spring, well or borehole
  • where there is significant risk of pollution from poaching around the feeder entering any inland freshwaters or coastal waters

Source: DEFRA, 2017 

 

 

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