Warwickshire Rural Hub
Legislation & Regulation
New general licence for the control of stoats
From 1 April 2020, any trapping of stoats will only be lawful under the authority of a licence issued under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, for instance to help conserve birds or livestock. The changes mean that any trap used for stoats must be certified to meet the welfare standards set out in the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards and approved for use against stoats in the UK.
Natural England has developed two general licences to permit the trapping of stoats in specific circumstances in England. Visit this page for further information.
New temporary regulations on spreading of slurry and milk
If you landspread slurry or milk produced on a farm you must normally comply with certain regulatory requirements. But during the coronavirus outbreak the Environment Agency has produced a new set of regulations which allow you to:
- store slurry without complying with all the requirements for storing silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil
- spread slurry or milk on some areas of agricultural land where it would not normally be allowed
You must obtain written agreement from the Environment Agency before you can use this COVID-19 RPS. Further information is available on this page.
Strict new controls to protect UK’s trees and plants
New national measures have came into effect on 21 April 2020 to safeguard the UK, and our forestry and horticulture industries, from a range of plant health diseases and pests including the devastating Xylella fastidiosa and exotic beetles which can kill ash trees.
These new regulations will add more stringent import requirements to protect UK plant health against these threats.
Full information is on this page.
Changes to passport amendments during coronavirus
The British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) has made temporary changes to the passport amendments process in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The aim of these changes is to help avoid (as much as possible) farmers having to make trips to post documents to BCMS when government advice is not to travel. Customers are advised not to post passport amendment requests to the BCMS if possible. The advice for customers who need to make a passport amendment is:
- write on the passport what information needs to be amended
- write ‘Cancelled’ in large bold letters across the front of the passport
- take a photo of the front and back page of the passport (if the amendment is to the date of birth, please also take a photo of your calving records)
- email the photo(s) to email@example.com
- post the original version of the passport to the British Cattle Movement Service, Curwen Road, Workington, CA14 2DD when you are able to do so
Upon receipt, BCMS will make the necessary amendment and you will receive the updated passport in the post.
Further information is available from the NFU.
Three crop rule to be relaxed
The Environment Secretary has confirmed today (20 March) that the government intends to relax the crop diversification requirements known as the “three crop rule” for farmers for 2020, as farmers in flooded areas have suggested they will have difficulty complying with the rule this year. With large swathes of farmland in England under floodwater for most of February, the government is pursuing plans through Parliament to relax this rule for all farmers for 2020 so those who are unable to access their flooded land to plant spring crops over the coming weeks and months will not be unfairly penalised. The amendment will be made for Parliament’s approval as soon as possible. When the amendment to the three-crop rule has been made and approved by Parliament, all farmers will be notified of this.
Deadline for new abstraction licences extended
The Environment Agency has announced that the New Authorisations transition window for new abstraction licence applications has been extended for six months to the end of June 2020. The original deadline for submitting validated applications to the Environment Agency was 31 December 2019. Further information is available here.
No changes for cross compliance in 2020
There are no changes to the cross compliance rules in 2020. The rules set out in the guidance apply for the whole of 2020. Therefore, you must meet the rules throughout the year. The EU regulations will continue to apply directly in the UK until we exit the EU or until the end of any implementation period. After this time, the EU regulations will be brought into UK law by The European Union (withdrawal) Act 2018. To view the key dates for 2020 please visit this page.
Farming Rules for Water
The new Farming Rules for Water will be enforceable from 2 April 2019. The rules standardise good farming practices that many farmers are already demonstrating following on from the Codes of Good Agricultural Practice. The rules are separate from cross-compliance. Full details of the new rules are available here.
Updated information on riparian rights
Updated information on your responsibilities and rules to follow for watercourses on or near your property, and permissions you need to do work around them, have been placed on the Gov.uk website. Visit the link below to view the information.
New rules for fertilizer management to protect water quality
From April 2018 all farmers in England will need to follow a new set of farming rules for water. New regulations will now be made which will give these rules legal force from then. The rules will:
• promote good practice in managing fertilisers and manures through eight rules covering planning and use, storage and application of fertilisers and manures and soil erosion measures
• encourage land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse pollution from runoff or soil erosion
• require soil tests at least every 5 years on cultivated land
• protect land within 5 metres of watercourses from significant soil erosion by preventing poaching by livestock.
Further details can be found on the website below.
Enhanced TB control measures
From November 2017 enhanced TB control measures will be introduced to reduce the risk posed by inconclusive skin test reactors. This follows on from a consultation held in 2016.
All inconclusive reactors (IRs) in the High Risk Area (HRA) and Edge Area (and in TB breakdown herds in the Low Risk Area) that have a negative result on re-testing will remain restricted for the rest of their life to the holding in which they were found. The only permitted off movements for such animals will be to slaughter (either directly or via an Approved Finishing Unit).
Warwickshire re-classified as fully in the Edge Area for TB
Following a public Defra TB consultation held in 2016, and an informal consultation held in October 2017, Defra has announced enhanced cattle measures in the Edge Area; which will take effect from January 2018.
The changes from January 2018 include re-classification of Edge Area counties. The following part Edge, part High Risk Area split counties will be re-classified as fully in the Edge Area
Warwickshire and Oxfordshire
East Sussex, Derbyshire and Cheshire
Government announces plans to introduce trickle irrigation licensing
Defra has announced plans to end water abstraction licensing exemptions in England and Wales. It is expected that these changes will be made shortly, opening a two year abstraction licence application window on 1 January 2018.
It is estimated that 5,000 existing operations will require an abstraction licence for the first time and expected that most applicants will successfully secure abstraction licences that meet their historic needs. Exempt operators such as trickle irrigators will have two years to submit their licence application with effect from 1 January 2018. The licence determination process must be completed within five years of the application window opening.
Reminder on water abstraction licences
If your current water abstraction licence is due to expire, and you want to continue to abstract, you need to apply for a new licence at least 3 months before the existing licence expires.
For more information on applying for a water abstraction licence, please visit the website below.
EU vote not to block changes to greening rules
The EU Parliament has voted not to block proposed changes to greening and other elements of BPS rules. The ban on the use of plant protection products on field-based Ecological Focus Area options will therefore come into force. No timescale has been given.
Please be reminded that Dewlap tags, which are inserted through the dewlap of cattle, are legally classed as a mutilation (Animal Welfare Act 2006). Using the dewlap tag is therefore illegal and if farms are found to be using these tags at an RPA or APHA inspection it will be considered a rectifiable breach and will incur a penalty.
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