GOOD NEWS FOR FARMERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT AS RED TAPE AND COSTS ARE CUT FOR ANAEROBIC DIGESTION - BUT NVZ RULES WILL DWARF SAVINGS
Following the introduction of the new Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations which came into force on 1st January, Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA Tim Farron MP has welcomed the news that farmers will no longer be required to pay for waste permits to spread digestate on their fields.
The change in legislation comes after the Environment Agency reclassified anaerobic digestate produced from on farm products such as manure and slurry from being "waste" to being a viable fertiliser.
Mr Farron welcomed the move:
"This will make it more affordable for farmers to go green through anaerobic digestion - it's a sensible step that we've wanted for some time"
However, Mr Farron expressed concerns that the change would do little to help farmers in nitrate vulnerable zones who will have to spend around £40,000 each for larger slurry tanks to meet the regulations.
Commenting Mr Farron said:
"This is a practical solution that will relieve farmers of the some of the cost associated with the disposal of on-farm waste. But unfortunately these savings are just a drop in the ocean when compared to the overall cost of the new nitrate pollution regulations.
"At a time when many farmers are leaving the industry because of fluctuating demand, shifting prices, and supermarket greed, it seems crazy that the Government would give them yet another bill to pay. But that's exactly what they are doing with these new Nitrate Vulnerable Zone regulations.
"It's important that the Government encourages environmental stewardship within the farming industry; but it shouldn't be at the expense of local farmers trying to make a living.
"It's clear from this initiative that the Government are aware of the financial burden being imposed on farmers. I am asking Hilary Benn to reconsider his decision to allow the industry to foot the bill for these regulations and to give farmers a grant to help them meet the costs.