The Tenant Farmers Association will be using it's presence at
the Lincolnshire Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Association
(LAMMA) 25th Exhibition at Newark Showground to highlight its concerns
over new restrictions on producers in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones
(NVZs) being proposed by the European Commission.
The TFA's National Chairman Reg Haydon, attending LAMMA said "The
Commission is proposing the blanket imposition of a 170kg limit
on the amount of nitrogen in livestock manure that may be applied
to land in an NVZ; the extension of closed periods for spreading
slurry into February; the application of closed periods to all
land types; and an increase in the amount of storage capacity for
slurry on farms to cover the extended closed period. These proposals
are neither practical nor based on any objective assessment of
DEFRA is currently in negotiation with the European Commission
over its proposals and the TFA is urging DEFRA to take a hard line
with the Commission to ensure that any changes are fully within
the remit of the Nitrates Directive and are based on evidence that
the current regulations are not delivering the required outputs.
"The view of the Commission is not necessarily in line with
a proper interpretation of the Nitrates Directive requirements.
The TFA is concerned that the Commission is trying to push the
auspices of the Nitrates Directive further than is reasonable.
In particular, it is trying to cover matters that should properly
fall to be looked at under the Water Framework Directive where
new measures have to be judged against the principle of "disproportionate
cost" which does not feature under the Directive. We also
have concerns about the Environment Agency's presentation of water
quality data to the Commission and asked DEFRA in October of last
year to arrange a meeting between farming interests and the Agency
to discuss this further - we still await a date for that meeting" said
"Applying closed periods to clay soils and extending the
closed periods into February will wreck what is considered good
farming practice in the handling of slurry and manure and generally
accepted principles of minimising damage to soils through inappropriate
machinery use. Untold damage will be done if farmers are to be
forced to wait until well into the New Year before getting onto
land" said Mr Haydon.
"Who is going to pay for new storage capacity on tenanted
holdings? Under traditional tenancy agreements, landlords are responsible
for farm equipment, buildings and facilities which includes maintenance
and infrastructure upgrades required to meet new statutory requirements.
Depending on the terms of the tenancy agreement, it may take months,
years or forever before tenanted farms comply with any revisions
on these structures" said Mr Haydon.
"This is political correctness gone mad and we hope that
DEFRA will convince the Commission to let common sense prevail" said
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