On the 17th May the amended nitrates regulations came into force, together with the revised NVZ boundaries. However, there are still some appeals being considered regarding the boundary changes, so it is expected that the final NVZ boundaries will be announced in July 2013.
CHANGES TO THE ACTION PROGRAMME
There have been additions made for a range of horticulture crops, which will not affect most of our clients.
Construction of Field Manure Heaps
As from the 16th May 2014, farmers need to ensure that field heaps occupy as small a surface area as possible in order to reduce dirty rainfall runoff.
Enforcement officers will take account of how you have built the heap (tipping trailer or front loader) and the site (whether it is a strip of land or an area where a circular heap would be possible) in order to determine if you have complied – very subjective then!!
Also, farmers will not be able to construct a heap within 30m of a watercourse (including ditches) if the land slopes steeply (more than 1 in 5).
You will continue to need to rotate the site of field heaps, and record them on your risk assessment maps, as per the current requirements.
GRASSLAND DEROGATION 2013
Defra have granted ‘administrative approval’ to farmers who applied for a grassland derogation this year. This allows farmers to exceed their limit of 170 kgN/ha, but only if at least 80% of the land is in grass, and have already applied.
Once the new regulations come into force, all those who have applied will be written to confirming their approval, and any new conditions that will apply. It is important that you sign and return their confirmation letter when it comes.
You must have the following recorded by 30th June 2013:
- Risk map
- Size of holding
- Area of grassland
- Volume of manure storage
- Calculation of nitrogen and phosphate produced by stock on your holding
- Import/export manure details
As per usual you must also send the Environment Agency details of your fertiliser use by 30th April 2014.
NEW BUILD/IMPROVEMENTS TO SILAGE, SLURRY AND AGRICULTURAL FUEL OIL STORAGE
If you are building a new store, or refurbishing an existing one, and construction starts on or after 15th June 2013, you are required to notify the EA at least 14 days before starting work.
MOVEMENT OF DEFRA WEBSITE
Defra’s new home page is now www.gov.uk/Defra
CLOSED SPREADING PERIOD
The closed spreading period for spreading organic manures with high available N (i.e. slurry, poultry manure, liquid biodigestate) is to be increased by 2 weeks on soils other than sandy or shallow to 31st January as from now.
LIMIT TO VOLUME OF SLURRY TO BE SPREAD AT THE END OF THE CLOSED PERIOD
As from 1st January 2014 there is to be a limit of 30m3/ha put on the amount of slurry that can be spread to land after the closed period up to the end of February, with a 3 week interval between applications.
APPLICATION OF SLURRY CLOSE TO WATER COURSES
As from now, the non-spreading area adjoining watercourses for slurry spreading is reduced from 10m to 6m when applied using precision equipment such as injectors or trailing shoes.