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Producer views sought for review of Farming Rules for Water

7th Jan 2021 / By Alistair Driver

Defra is seeking views on the new Farming Rules for Water for a review, which the Government has committed to completing by April 2. 

The regulation, designed to prevent nutrient pollution and protect water quality, was introduced in 2018. The current review, following the department’s review of the Nitrates and SAFFO (Slurry and Silage) Regulations, is part of its ongoing work to 'promote good nutrient management and set up our long term ambitions for work in this area'. 

In order to get the most valuable engagement, Defra has drafted some key questions based on an analysis of previous consultation esponses and is seeking feedback from the industry: 

  • To what extent (if at all) do you think the Farming Rules for Water have been effective in reducing nutrient pollution from agriculture?
  • Do the rules provide a proportionate baseline regulation for land managers?
  • How well understood are the rules among land managers?  Are there any issues with the provisions that land managers struggle with?
  • What is your view about compliance with and enforcement of the rules?
  • What are the costs associated with complying with the rules, both for individual farms and farming industries as a group? Have these presented challenges to farmers?
  • Have there been any unintended effects of the rules on land managers?
  • Is there an opportunity to reduce the burden of these regulations? If so can you describe any examples or options on how this could be done?
  • Is the existing type of regulation (focused on outcomes) the correct approach to regulating agriculture?

It is seeking written responses no later than Friday, January 15.

NPA policy services officer Lizzie Wilson said: "The NPA will be responding to the consultation and we need to hear from as many producers as possible to inform our response. 

"The timing is not ideal with so much else going on, but it is important for us to be able to feed in the view of producers directly affected by the rules, so that we can achieve the best possible outcome from the review. So please spend a few minutes to respond to the questions!" 

Send your responses to or directly to Lizzie (email address in Members' Area).