NFU Scotland has sent proposals to the Scottish Environment Protection
Agency (SEPA) for more user-friendly, efficient and proportionate
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.”
On Your Plate? - The Campaign for Scottish Food and Farming
Victory On Waste Management Licensing Exemptions
NFUS-Led Group Tests New BVD Strategy