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    Voluntary Initiative Seminar Delivers Positive Advice
23/02/06

A recent Voluntary Initiative (VI) seminar, jointly organised by NFU Scotland (NFUS) and Scottish Quality Cereals (SQC), saw a good turnout that ensured the role of farm assurance and the VI was hotly debated.

swaledale sheep

Speaking at the seminar were John Smith, chairman of the Scottish VI Implementation Group, Patrick Goldsworthy of the Crop Protection Association, George Lawrie, Chairman of the NFUS Environment and Land Use Committee and a farmer from Kinross, Bryan Jarvis, Chief Executive of the NPTC responsible for the NRoSO scheme, Rob Morris of SEPA and Gary Stoddart, SQC Technical Manager.

Of particular interest to the audience was the presentation by Rob Morris of SEPA who spoke about the new waste regulations and assured attendees that field stones will not be classified as waste.

Attendees at the seminar expressed their concerns that it seemed as if the quality assurance remit had widened over recent years and thus had lost some of its focus.

Scott Walker, Policy Director for NFUS, said:

“This seminar allowed attendees to express all of their opinions, both positive and negative, about the VI and how it goes forward. Criticism of the administration of some aspects of the VI is well recognised. Points such as the communication of the new fax number to which Crop Protection Management Plan returns are registered with the Voluntary Initiative should have been handled better. Even now not everyone is aware that the new number is 024 7685 8501.

“There is no doubt that the VI has been successful in halting the introduction of a pesticide tax. Now that the VI it is nearing the end of its 5-year programme and decisions are made on where it should go the views expressed at this seminar will help to ensure the correct decisions are taken.”

NOTES:

  • The completion of a Crop Protection Management Plan is a requirement under the SQC Standards. These plans should be registered so that it can be shown that the target under the Voluntary Initiative is achieved. There is a new fax number to which Crop Protection Management Plan returns are registered with the Voluntary Initiative. The new fax number to send returns to is 024 7685 8501. Alternatively returns can be posted to Neil Kift, Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire CV8 2LZ
  • If a CPMP was sent by fax to the old number after the 19th of December then it will not have been received by the VI. In this situation people are urged to fax it to the new number, especially in this, the final year of the first VI programme, when government will be keen to assess the overall success of the programme.
  • For further information on the seminar and the topics covered, please contact SQC on 0131 335 6604.

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