New waste regulations looming for farmers.
Farmers are reminded that next week sees the introduction of new waste regulations which bring agriculture into line with controls applied to other businesses and industries.
The new controls come into force on May 15 and will mean, among other things, use of farm tips or burial of waste on farm will become illegal and restrictions on the open burning of synthetic waste materials will be introduced.
NFU spokesperson on waste, Robert Caudwell, said: "Many farmers will be concentrating on completing their Single Payment Scheme forms at the moment but they will also need to be fully aware of these important new regulations.
"May 15 is a key date when three main provisions will take immediate effect: farmers must stop using their farm tip; they must stop open burning of synthetic wastes, such as plastics and packaging; and they must abide by a Duty of Care when handling waste."
Farmers need to be fully aware that if a farm tip is found to be used on or after May 15 2006, it will result in severe penalties for the farmer concerned and costly remediation of the site.
Another key provision of the regulation allows farmers to register exemptions with the Environment Agency.
Mr Caudwell said: "My advice to farmers on making exemption registrations at the moment is, don't panic. You have 12 months in which to make registrations ( until May 2007.
"Be aware of the immediate priorities come May 15 2006 and if you haven't done so already, identify waste facilities which can handle your farm waste on your behalf."
According to the new regulations, farmers will have five basic options for dealing with waste, which can be used on their own or in combination.
They can store their waste on-farm for up to 12 months; take their waste for recycling or disposal off-farm at a licensed site; get an authorised waste contractor to take their waste away; register licence exemptions with the Environment Agency to recycle or dispose of their waste on-farm; and/or apply to the Environment Agency for a waste management licence or a landfill permit to recycle or dispose of their waste on-farm.
But for most farmers obtaining a landfill permit for their farm dump will not be a viable option because of the engineering requirements and costs involved.
There are transitional arrangements for most other recycling and disposal activities on-farm.
A free Waste Recycling Directory system has been set up to enable farms to identify registered sites or waste carriers around the country. The directory can be accessed by an online site (www.wasterecycling.org.uk) or by calling 0845 603 3113.
Farmers are also being urged to check if a local plastic collection and recovery scheme runs in your area. NFU regional offices should have details of any local schemes.