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SCOTGOV LISTENS TO UNION ON WATER REGULATION

NFU Scotland is drawing farmers’ attention to new diffuse pollution rules and has welcomed the Scottish Government’s changes to its original, impractical proposals.

Farmers should be aware of the rules which cover:

  • Storing and applying fertilisers;
  • Siting livestock feeders;
  • Cultivating land adjacent to ‘the water environment’;
  • Storing, preparing, applying pesticides; and
  • Cleaning pesticide application equipment.

NFU Scotland’s Environment and Land Use Policy Manager, Andrew Bauer said:

“Over a year ago, the Scottish Government consulted on changes to the Controlled Activities Regulations, in particular proposing changes to the General Binding Rules. NFU Scotland strongly opposed the proposed wording regarding fertiliser and pesticide application on sloping ground, pointing out that there was a high risk that it could be misinterpreted as a blanket ban on the application of these essential materials on any ground over 12 degrees.

“NFU Scotland is heartened that the Scottish Government has listened to our concerns about the wording of the original proposals, and has now brought forward changes to the General Binding Rules that are more risk-based and proportionate. These rule changes applied across the country as of 1 July 2013, and it is important that farmers acquaint themselves with them.

“NFUS knows this is a complicated subject and is working with the Scottish Government, SEPA and SRUC to produce a plain English guidance for farmers, crofters and land managers on their legal responsibilities for protecting the water environment. Until this is published later this year, questions can be addressed to NFU Scotland Head Office or local SEPA offices.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Following changes to the Controlled Activities Regulations – General Binding Rules, Scottish farmers, crofters and land managers must adhere to the following rules.

1. Fertilisers cannot be stored within 10 metres of the water environment (i.e. rivers, burns, ditches, wetlands, lochs, transitional waters, coastal waters)

2. Fertilisers cannot be stored on ground sloping towards the water environment unless it is ensured that any run-off fertiliser is intercepted (by means of a sufficient buffer zone or otherwise) to prevent it reaching the water environment.

3. Except for forestry operations, fertilisers cannot be applied to ground overlying gravel or fissured rock, where the average soil depth is less than 40 centimetres. This restriction has applied in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones for some time, but until now out with the NVZs the depth has been 30cm.

4. Organic fertiliser cannot be applied within 10 metres of the water environment. This became part of cross-compliance in January 2012.

5. Livestock feeders must be positioned no closer than 10 metres from the water environment, and in such a way that run-off from the feeders does not reach the water environment.

6. No land may be cultivated for crops within two metres of the water environment, measured from the top of the bank. In cases of gradually sloping land, NFU Scotland has been assured that this rule will be interpreted as being two metres from the last break in the slope before the water environment. This rule was previously worded as being two metres from water, which being a variable point could cause confusion.

7. Pesticides and their application equipment must not be prepared, filled, cleaned, or maintained within 10 metres of the water environment or any opening into a surface water drainage system.

8. Pesticides must be applied in accordance with the terms and instructions of the relevant product approval.

9. Pesticides must not be applied to frozen, snow covered or waterlogged ground. There is an exemption for application to waterlogged ground where it is required to control fungal disease.

10. Pesticides must not be applied within one metre of the top of the bank or shoreline adjacent to the water environment.

11. Pesticides must not be applied on ground sloping towards the water environment unless it is ensured that any run-off pesticide is intercepted (by means of a sufficient buffer zone or otherwise) to prevent it reaching the water environment.

12. Pesticides must not be applied within 50 metres of springs, uncapped wells or boreholes that supply water for human consumption.

13. Pesticides must not be applied during rainfall or when there is a risk that spray will drift or be blown out with the target area.

14. Pesticides and pesticides packaging must not be stored within 10 metres of the water environment, or within 50 metres of springs, uncapped wells or boreholes that supply water for human consumption, or on an impermeable surface draining to a surface water drainage system. This rule does not apply where the pesticides and pesticides packaging are stored in such a way (e.g. in a bunded store) that means they cannot reach the water environment or any opening to a surface water drainage system.

Ends

Date Published:

News Article No.: 92/13


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