Union to Meet with Scot Gov on GBR Concerns

Further to NFU Scotland’s submission opposing some proposed changes to General Binding Rules (GBRs), that could see a ban on the use of fertilisers and pesticides on land with a slope of more than 12 degrees, the Union will meet with top Scottish Government officials to challenge them to find a more risk based and proportionate route forward on diffuse pollution.

NFUS President, Nigel Miller, has been in contact with Richard Lochhead on the issue and Chief Executive Scott Walker will be meeting with Drew Sloan and David Barnes of Scottish Government after the Easter Break to emphasise the need for a revised approach.

NFU Scotland has been in contact with Scottish Government officials throughout the short four-week consultation period.

Nigel Miller, President of NFU Scotland, said:

“NFU Scotland has lodged a strong submission to Scottish Government, on behalf of members, opposing the proposed changes to the GBRs.  

“Of greatest concern is the repeated mention of Scottish farmland that slopes more than 12 degrees and the restrictions that could be placed upon that land. A ban on the use of fertilizers and pesticides on this land could have a drastic impact on Scottish agricultural productivity and food security.

“The proposed changes take no account of the affect of weather, vegetation and application technology, among other factors, but instead focuses rather bluntly on the issue of slope. We have made these points in our submission, and will raise them again when we meet with Scottish Government next week. 

“Risk based and proportionate action on diffuse pollution, working hand in hand with farmers, has to be the priority here – and we will be seeking to work with Scottish Government to find a better solution going forward.”

Notes to editors

  • The proposed wording of GBR 18 could see a blunt prohibition on spreading organic or inorganic fertiliser on land with an overall gradient in excess of 12 degrees.
  • The proposed wording of GBR 23 could see a ban on the application or drift of pesticides over ground with a slope of 12 degrees or more leading to surface water, unless there is a 10m vegetated buffer zone.
  • The consultation document ‘Delivering Scotland's River Basin Management Plans: The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 - Proposed Amendments to General Binding Rules’ can be viewed at


Contact Wendy Fleming on 0131 472 4020

Date Published:

News Article No.: 37/12

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