New rules introduced for all farmers in England to help improve water quality were announced on 2nd April 2018.  They put the onus on farmers to assess the resource efficiency opportunities and pollution risks on their farm, and then to decide on the right actions to avoid water pollution.

The rules require farmers to:

  • keep soil on the land;
  • match nutrients to crop and soil needs;
  • keep livestock fertilisers and manures out of the water.

Whilst they are called ‘new’ rules, if you are a farmer in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) or are claiming the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and you are already complying with those requirements, you should already be meeting many of these ‘new’ rules.

Altogether, there are eight new rules.  Five about managing fertilisers and manures and three are about managing soils:

– 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 rules, which have been designed in an advice-led approach have been introduced by the Environment Agency and they hope that they will give farmers the information they need to meet the rules, whilst securing potential cost savings through better resource efficiency.

If you require further information, a summary of the new rules is available on GOV.UK.

If you would like further advice on the new water rules, please contact Charles at the office on 01684 325215 or 07814 033449