Graham Stuart MP Lobbying Government To Reconsider Farming Rules For Water

Graham Stuart MP Lobbying Government To Reconsider Farming Rules For Water
MP Lobbying Government To Reconsider Farming Rules For Water

MP for and Holderness, Graham Stuart, met the NFU and local farmers to discuss the concerns and challenges of the Farming Rules for Water. The group consisted of arable, horticultural, poultry and pig farmers.

The Farming Rules for Water were first introduced in April 2018 to regulate the spreading of organic manures and chemical fertilisers on agricultural land and were put in place to protect water quality from manure run-off.

The rules have caused issues for some farmers, particularly the requirement to plan nutrient applications so they do not exceed soil and crop need. There are also continuing areas of uncertainty with these rules, including compliance with Rule 1 and how pollution risk is judged.

The discussion focused on the estimated increase in costs that farmers will incur by complying with these rules, which they believe will not have any financial return.

Farmers are concerned about being forced to apply fertiliser out of season resulting in potential soil structure damage. The farmers emphasised that the rules are unworkable in a real-world setting. They asked for clarity of the current regulations.

Graham has agreed to write a letter to George Eustice, Secretary of State for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (), co-signed by other backbench MPs. They will highlight the significant upset to farming, require clarity about muck spreading in the autumn and request statutory guidance with a workable lead in time.

Graham said;

“I had a great discussion with the NFU and farmers in my constituency about the Farming Rules for Water, which determine when, where and how farmers can apply slurry and manure to their land.

“It is of course vitally important that rules are in place to protect the environment, but I think on this occasion the Government has got it wrong and the rules should be looked at again to ensure they’re workable for those on the ground.

“I’ll be working with colleagues to ensure this happens so that farmers are supported to be profitable as well as helping them to protect the environment. With the price of fertiliser going up, it is particularly important that farmers optimise the use of other nutrients.”

Rob Beaty, NFU Group Secretary, said;

“‘NFU Beverley & Holderness branches were delighted to host a meeting with to discuss some of the concerns our farming members have regarding the interpretation of the Farming Rules for Water by the Environment Agency, particularly around manure spreading and the specific challenges in the pig and poultry sectors. It was a really productive meeting with good engagement and dialogue from all parties. We are pleased Graham will be taking forward some of the ideas and solutions that were suggested to help achieve a workable outcome for farmers.”

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