On the one hand the Environment Agency is telling farmers to prepare for new waste regulations, while on the other Defra is saying it will cut red tape.

Rebecca Favager, a waste policy advisor at the Environment Agency said:

“We want to help farmers get to grips with how to deal with waste correctly and we want them to act now so they are ready for when the new regulations start in early 2006.

“Our new guidance, online recycling directory and advice line will help farmers get ahead of the game.”

Essentially the new regulations will mean that farmers will have to deal with their waste in the same way as everyone else and will no longer have concessions allowing them to dispose of waste without the appropriate licences.

The traditional ‘farm dump’ will now be strictly regulated and while farmers will still be able to burn vegetation and untreated wood, torching materials such as plastics, tyres and treated wood will no longer be tolerated.

“It’s really important that farmers dispose of their waste correctly. We recommend you stop using your farm tip before the regulations come in,” said Ms Favager.

“If you continue using your tip after the regulations start, that tip will have to comply with the very stringent controls imposed by the landfill directive – even if you decide you want to stop using it.

“It could cost you thousands of pounds and we simply don’t see how it would be cost effective for a farmer to continue to use his tip.

“Farmers might want to think of ways to minimise their waste and save money on disposal costs. When they need to dispose of waste they can use the recycling directory to find sites to take their waste to.”

Farmers can visit the directory at www.wasterecyling.org.uk she added or call the EA on 0845 603 3113 for information.

Meanwhile, as part of its ongoing drive to streamline regulation and cut red tape for business, Defra has announced a new regulations strategy for agriculture.

The Partners for Success strategy commits the Government to improving the way it regulates and enforces regulation, in order to make it easier for farmers to comply.

Its aim is to help improve their performance in protecting the environment, biodiversity, animal health and welfare, as well as food safety and worker safety.

It sets out ideas for simplifying rules and cutting red tape for farmers, notably through reduced form-filling.

According to a statement from Defra farmers should benefit from the strategy, as it paves the way for better communication of the purpose of regulations, as well as rules that are easier to understand and apply in a day-to-day business context.

Farmers will also need to play their part in the new partnership, especially by managing the risks and costs of their operations to the public, and reducing the unwelcome impacts of their activities.

Sustainable Farming and Food Minister Lord Bach said:

“Government is committed to improving the way we develop new policies, the way we inspect and enforce regulations, and the way we give advice and information to farmers.

“In response to farmers’ concerns, I am announcing a review of the complex local delivery arrangements for inspecting and enforcing animal health and welfare regulations. This will help reduce overlap and bureaucracy, and simplify farmers’ interactions with government.”

By Sam Bond

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