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Stackyard News Jun 07

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NFUS Submits Proposals for Better Waste Regulation

NFU Scotland has sent proposals to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for more user-friendly, efficient and proportionate waste regulations.

muck spreading

In particular, NFUS has called for the scrapping of the current system which requires farmers to pay a fee in order to exempt certain low risk activities, such as recycling road planings, from licensing requirements. Other activities, such moving topsoil or burning cardboard in a drum, require farmers to spend time filling in forms to exempt them.

NFUS believes that these kinds of activities should carry automatic exemptions, at no charge, with the farmer then responsible for ensuring material is used responsibly. The precedent for this already exists with a set of general rules applicable to all farmers under water environment regulations, whereby farmers can undertake activities such as dredging a small ditch without having to fill in any additional paperwork or pay any fees. This saves time and money both for individual farmers and SEPA.

NFUS has made its points in response to a consultation issued by SEPA and the Scottish Executive on better waste regulation. The consultation is viewed as a model by which existing regulations in other sectors could be reviewed and their implementation improved.

NFUS Vice President Stewart Wood said:

“This consultation is good news and provides an opportunity to address some of the unnecessary regulation facing farmers. Ultimately, improvements on waste regulations will deliver a benefit to both industry and SEPA.

“The current waste exemption system must amended. Effectively, for some very low-risk activities, farmers are being charged to obtain a ‘licence’ in order to exempt them from having a ‘licence’. That just isn’t efficient, user-friendly or proportionate. For activities like the reuse of road planings, which provides an environmentally beneficial alternative to landfill, there should be an automatic exemption at no charge – that’s the approach SEPA has taken for certain water rules and it makes sense.

“The current costs for waste exemptions aren’t high but the hassle factor is significant for all sides, for no added environmental benefit that we can see. In the end, rules and regulations must be judged by their actual benefits and where they are non-existent, negligible or not justified by the costs involved, they should be amended or scrapped. This consultation with SEPA is an extremely helpful step in that process.”

link What’s On Your Plate? - The Campaign for Scottish Food and Farming
link Victory On Waste Management Licensing Exemptions
link NFUS-Led Group Tests New BVD Strategy

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National Farmers' Union