NPA welcomes Defra commitment on Farming Rules for Water
30th Mar 2022 / By Alistair Driver
The NPA has welcomed a statement from Defra that it does not intend to ban autumn manure spreading through the Farming Rules for Water (FRfW).
The Department has issued a statement on FRfW, as part of a wider set of steps, including moves to assist farmers with the availability of fertilisers for the coming growing season, and further details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive.
Defra has published statutory guidance to clarify how the Environment Agency should apply the FRfW when it comes to spreading of organic manures in autumn and winter. Farming stakeholders, including the NPA and NFU, have been engaged on the development of this guidance, after the farming industry sought clarity.
Defra said: “This will clarify that the Government does not intend to ban autumn manure spreading through the Farming Rules for Water.”
The proposed guidance clarifies the conditions when it is not appropriate for the EA to sanction farmers when they spread manure in the autumn and winter months, following confusion around the rules within the industry last year, and the steps that should be taken to minimise the risk of these activities.
Defra added that it will provide further support to farmers through new slurry storage grants launching later this year. These will make a significant contribution towards the costs of covered slurry store construction projects, to enable farmers to get to six months storage capacity.
NPA policy officer services Lizzie Wilson, who has been part of a group working to develop the guidance, said: "We welcome the Government's statement that the Environment Agency's interpretation of FRfW will not ban autumn manure spreading.
"What we have been calling for from the start is a proportionate interpretation and clarity for farmers on what they can and can't do, which we didn't have last year. We will comment more fully when we have had a proper look at the new guidance."
You can read more about Defra's announcements on fertiliser and the SFI, plus more reaction, HERE