Farming News - Environment Agency Farm Inspections

Environment Agency Farm Inspections

A sharp rise in EA Farming Rules for Water regulatory inspections is catching many farmers unprepared and uncompliant...


H&H Land & Estates are helping a growing number of farming clients across the North of England and Yorkshire to deal with the outcomes of an Environment Agency Farming Rules for Water regulatory inspection. Following a drive to recruit new inspectors, the EA is significantly increasing the number of on-farm visits and many farmers are finding themselves facing the consequences of non-compliance.

 In most cases, the consequences of noncompliance are not punitive, but the actions required to meet the regulatory standard can be exhaustive as H&H Land & Estates have noted from their clients.  The Company's Farm Business Advisor Hannah Peile is working with a growing number of farmers and landowners both to prepare for and to deal with the requirements of a Farming Rules for Water inspection. Fertiliser Advisers Certification & Training Scheme (FACTS) qualified and with specialist expertise in soil and nutrient management, Hannah suggests that the right preparation can turn an inspection from a threat into an opportunity to drive improvement.

 "The Environment Agency is responding to the growing pollution of rivers and watercourses, and their agricultural inspections are monitoring our farmers' compliance with environmental regulations controlling potential pollution from slurry and silage, or from nitrates and phosphates in the soil."

 Hannah is helping one H&H Land & Estates client whose silage clamp failed an inspection and here she gives some background.

 "The EA inspection report in this case specified actions that needed to be taken within a given deadline, and full details of the plans required to bring the clamp up to compliance standard. This includes site and structural drawings and design drawings to BS5502, materials specification and installers certification if underground tanks are to be used. If the structure is constructed from earth, the necessary actions will include an analysis of the soil type, depth and permeability and a description of how it will be engineered."

 Actions required from other compliance failures could include soil testing on cultivated fields every 3-5 years as part of a full nutrient management plan, slurry storage management plans and manure management plans.

 "The EA is taking what they describe as an 'advice-led' approach, but it is far less stressful and time-consuming to be prepared for an inspection than having to play catch-up after the fact. A key part of our support for all our clients is to create Soil and Nutrient Management  Plans that not only pre-empt an EA inspection but also  provide the data and the detail required to achieve SFI and other environmental scheme support.

 "There are SFI grants available to help farmers and landowners create these fundamental plans, and it is part of our service to help make a successful application for relevant funding. We would recommend all farmers and landowners to be prepared for the EA letter that advises an inspection is imminent, and turn it into a positive step in your plans for an environmentally and commercially sustainable future."

 To find out more about more about EA Farming Rules for Water, Soil and Nutrient Management Planning and SFI grant applications, please contact Hannah Peile on 01228 406260