From the 2nd April 2018 new rules for farming near water will be introduced by DEFRA to ensure farmers manage their land in ways that avoid water pollution while also benefiting their business. These can be enforced legally and are separate from the existing Cross Compliance rules, and so apply to all farmers/landowners, not just those claiming BPS.

The main rules that all farmers and land managers must abide by, involve:

  1. Planning use of manures and fertilisers
  2. Storing organic manure
  3. Applying manures and fertilisers
  4. Where not to apply organic manures
  5. Where not to apply fertiliser
  6. Reasonable precautions to prevent soil erosion
  7. Protecting against soil erosion by livestock
  8. Position of livestock feeders.

All farmers/landowners will also be required to carry out soil tests at least once every five years, and to keep records so they can prove this should they be inspected.

The Environment Agency will be the regulator for these rules, and anyone who fails to comply after the 2nd April 2018 may be subject to enforcement action. More information is due to be released on these rules shortly.

The existing information can be found here.