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Stackyard News Mar 06

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    NFUS Told Water Abstraction Deadline Is Extended


NFU Scotland has received confirmation from Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie that the deadline by which farmers can register to abstract water at a lower charge will be extended from 31 March to 30 September. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency had been proposing to increase the registration charge for farmers wishing to abstract water from £134 before 31 March to nearly £3000 thereafter.

However, despite being only 10 days from the original application deadline, there has been absolutely no official information to farmers about this change of deadline or even what the details of the new Water Environment Charging Scheme are. There has been a public consultation on the proposed scheme but no announcement on its outcome and no confirmation that the proposals that were amended mid-consultation have been agreed.

NFUS is calling for urgent clarification from the Scottish Executive on the details of the new scheme

NFUS Vice President Jim McLaren said:

“The handling of this whole situation has been a shambles. Farmers around the country are working on the presumption they have only 10 days left to register at the reduced rate even though they have no idea of the details of the scheme.

“We have now been told the original deadline will be extended to 30 September. That will give farmers more time, and crucially give time for the Executive or SEPA to announce what farmers are being told they have to register for. However, whilst this extension gives some relief, we now hear unofficially that the reduced rate will rise from £134 to £214. That is not a huge amount of money, but I would like to know how SEPA can justify that rise.

“There are a host of questions that need answered immediately. What exactly are the details of the new scheme? SEPA changed them half way through the consultation but there has been no word on the outcome of that consultation. Will SEPA also be asking farmers to pay the annual subsistence charge this year? If the registration period is extended until 30 September after the summer irrigation period, I don’t how it can justify charging farmers for the costs of inspections that won’t take place because farmers haven’t registered? Also, will new application forms be issued that reflect the new rules?

“We need urgent clarification from the Executive on all these points immediately.”

link Pressure Pays Off As SEPA Amends Water Charges
link Water Abstraction Talks Continue
link NFU Scotland Submits Views On Water Abstraction

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