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NPA urges producers to respond to MPs' call for evidence on Farming Rules for Water

29th Nov 2021 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA is urging producers to respond individually to the  Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee investigation into the ‘Farming Rules for Water’ (FRFW).

EFRA will be holding a public evidence session in January as part of its investigation into how the Environment Agency is interpreting the rules governing autumn spreading. 

Neil ParishThe NPA and NFU have been pushing hard for clarity on FRFW and the agency's interpretation of how they should be implemented and enforced.

In response to a letter from Mr Parish, EA chief executive Sir James Bevan insisted earlier this month that the agency had provided clear guidance and promised that its enforcement of the rules would be ‘proportionate and fair’.

The Farming Rules for Water aim to tackle water pollution caused by excess application of fertiliser spread on fields (known as ‘diffuse pollution’). 

The EFRA Committee wrote the EA about these regulations following concern from organisations including the NPA and NFU about the impact the rules are having on their ability to spread organic manure in the autumn to prepare for spring crops. 

EFRA said: "Given that there appears to still be disagreement between the sector and the regulator, the Committee has decided to hold a one-off evidence session on these issues."

NPA policy services officer Lizzie Wilson said: "We are really pleased that EFRA is looking into this hugely important issue for pig producers. It is a great opportunity to explain why the FRFW are creating so much uncertainty on farms. 

"We will certainly be submitting evidence, but we would also encourage as many producers as possible to submit individual responses."  

In particular, the Committee would like views on:  

  • What impact, if any, is the EAs implementation of Farming Rules for Water preventing farmers from spreading organic fertiliser? 
  • Are there change that should be made to the rules - or how they are applied?  
  • What are the best ways of preventing agricultural diffuse pollution? 

The EFRA Committee is asking for written submissions to the inquiry to be received by December 10. A guide to submitting evidence to the Committee can be found here. 

The NPA will be responding to the inquiry.