NFU Herefordshire Harvest Campaign – “Mud on the Road” signs available

Sometimes displacing mud onto the highway is unavoidable despite our best efforts and therefore signage is required to warn other road users.  As a result of NFU efforts, a road safety message poster was designed and approved by Herefordshire Council.

Farmers using these signs will still need to demonstrate that they are doing all they can to avoid displacing mud onto the road, you will still need to clean the roads as soon as possible and you will need to remove the signs from the highway as soon as appropriate.

As arranged a couple of years ago, EPS Limited has agreed to print the signs on our behalf and been provided with the official specification.
They have agreed to hold the price at £28 + VAT per sign.
Email to order your signs and you will need to pay by card over the phone prior to printing taking place.

Post & package can be arranged at an additional cost, or collection from the Hereford NFU office can be organised.

EPS Limited is located in Craven Arms in Shropshire but Clare Greener (NFU County Advisor, Herefordshire) is happy to bring purchased signs to the Hereford NFU office for your collection.  Please let Clare know of your purchase order details if you would like her to bring the signs to Hereford for you.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Clare.
Tel: 01432 807464
Mobile: 07771 626080

Mud on the road – NFU briefing

The wet summer and autumn, and the impending root crop harvests mean that there is likely to be an increased risk of high levels of mud getting onto the roads. As well as being illegal, excessive mud on the road has led to some serious and fatal accidents and it is essential that members take steps to minimise its impact.

Background – The Law

Farmers and vehicle operators who deposit mud on the road are potentially liable for a range of offences.

While there is a range of powers available to the police and highways department the primary powers fall under the Highways Act 1980.

Section 148 of the Highways Act 1980 makes it an offence to deposit mud etc. on the highway that would interrupt other users of the highway.

Section 149 of the Highways Act 1980 gives the highways authority the power to clean the road and recover its expenses from the person causing the obstruction.

Section 161 Highways Act 1980 “If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, deposits anything whatsoever on a highway in consequence of which a user of the highway is injured or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence”.

Civil action may also be a possibility where the mud contributes to a personal injury, damage to property, or any loss or inconvenience. The presence of mud can constitute a public nuisance and loss or injury can result in a claim for negligence.

What you should do:

Be prepared to hire in equipment – check availability in advance 

Keep to your own farm roads and minor roads whenever possible 

Keep to low speeds – especially when travelling a short distance – to help retain mud on the vehicle. 

Keep a written record of your decisions on whether or not to deploy signs and/or to clean the road.

What you must do:

Do everything possible to prevent mud being deposited on the road. This includes cleaning mud from vehicles, as far as practicable, before they are taken onto the road. 

If there is a danger of mud being accidently deposited on roads, use ‘Slippery Road’ signs with a ‘Mud on Road’ sub plate to alert other road users.  Check with your local highways authority their requirements for warning signs at the side of the road. 

Clean the road as necessary during the working day and always at the end of the working day. 

Ensure that labour and equipment is available and is suitable for the soil and weather conditions present. 

Where a contractor is used, ensure that prior agreement is reached on who is responsible for mud on road issues (signage, cleaning etc) and ensure that adequate public liability insurance is in place.


Further Information

Highways Act 1980 Traffic Regulation Act

Road Traffic Act 1988

Highway Code

Although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, neither the NFU nor the author can accept liability for errors and or omissions. © NFU

The end of Windows 7. Can you afford not to change?

Windows 7 is one of Microsoft’s best-loved computing operating systems.  Like all operating systems before it, Windows 7 will very soon reach the end of its lifecycle, as Microsoft will end support on 14th January 2020.

Once an operating system ends support it is no longer safe to use, as Microsoft will cease patching any security threats and will not add any new features. Third party software will begin to stop supporting the operating system and many financial websites, such as online banking, will become unsafe to use and vulnerable to attacks and data theft.

Although Windows 7 will not suddenly cease to work after 14th January 2020, continuing to use it will open your devices and precious data to more and more malicious attacks. There may be a short-term cost in migrating outdated equipment to a new and secure Windows 10 device, but in a world where all your information is held on your computer or online, have you considered the cost of doing nothing?

Microsoft suggest a ‘three-step plan’ for moving past Windows 7:

1. Back up of all your files and photos
2. Pick out a suitable new PC that is right for you
3. Immerse yourself in learning the new Windows 10 user experience.

If you use bespoke programs such as Farmplan, Landmark or Sum-It, their tech teams will be able to give you advice and guidance on the process.

All three companies have stands at the Herefordshire Rural Business Advice Day on 20th November, so come along talk to them there.

This information about Windows 7 has been kindly supplied by Farmplan.

New rules on water use and abstraction – don’t lose your previously exempt abstraction rights

Water abstraction rules have changed and most previously exempt activities cannot continue without an abstraction licence in place. Time is running short to secure a licence for previously exempt abstractions, which is why you need to apply now, in good time before the 31 December 2019 deadline.

If you abstract more than 20 cubic metres (4400 gallons) of water per day, and the activity for which you abstract was previously exempt from the need for an abstraction licence, you may lose your rights to continue with this activity unless you apply for a licence now.

The following forms of abstraction now require a licence:

  • All forms of irrigation, including trickle – even if you already have a licence for spray irrigation;
  • Abstractions within previously exempt geographical areas, which include parts of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and South Shropshire;
  • Transferring water by a navigation, harbour or conservancy authority;
  • Abstracting water into and between internal drainage districts;
  • Dewatering mines, quarries and engineering works;
  • Warping (abstraction of water containing silt for deposit onto agricultural land);
  • Abstractions for managed wetland systems and water level management plans, as well as Countryside Stewardship agreements with flooding/wetland options;
  • The majority of abstractions covered by Crown, visiting forces and the Ministry of Defence.

These changes to water abstraction rules will better protect the environment by helping to balance the needs of abstractors, while protecting scarce water supplies and the plants and animals that rely on them.

So what do you need to do?

Application forms and further information on how to apply are available at: .

The Environment Agency strongly encourage everyone affected to submit a valid abstraction licence application to them by the 31 December 2019 deadline, to secure their existing water needs.

It is important that applications are sent to the EA as soon as possible. By applying now it will allow time for them to check that they have all of the information needed for each application – known as making the application valid.
It can take up to 3 months to validate an application.

Failing to make a valid application on time means that you will miss the more favourable transitional arrangements provided by the new Regulations. These benefits allow you to have a licence based on evidence of recent past use (based on a time period of 2011 to 2017), as well as the inclusion of lighter touch restrictions on any licence issued, compared to usual restrictions.

This is a one-off opportunity and a highly valuable provision that cannot be retrospectively applied after the 31 December deadline. After then, all applications will be assessed on the basis of water availability which, in some parts of the country, rules out abstracting water in the summer months.

EA are committed to helping people who were previously exempt get their application forms completed and validated before the deadline closes. They have a free hotline and bookable appointment service to help with drafting applications or answering any questions you may have.
Call 03708 506 506 and ask for the ‘New Authorisations hotline’ or
email stating ‘New Authorisations’ in the email subject to find out more.

The EA may take enforcement action against those that do not have a ‘valid’ application after 31 December 2019, but continue to abstract water.
Continuing to abstract after this deadline, without submitting an application, will be unlawful. It is therefore important not to miss the deadline.

What is an abstraction?

An ‘abstraction’ means any water that is removed (taken or partially diverted) from a source of supply (for example a river, stream, ground or other watercourse) either by a pump, structure or other means. This also includes water transfers, whether the water is consumed in some way or not.

Water removed from a source of supply and returned (for example downstream) is also an abstraction (for example transfer through a water meadow system) and will also now require a licence.

If you are a householder, farmer or business taking water from a river, stream or ground (borehole), you firstly need to check if you abstract more than 20 cubic metres (m3) per day (or more than 4400 gallons per day). As a rough guide this is a similar amount to a medium sized milk tanker or equates to 260 baths a day. So, a single household is not likely to need a licence, unless it is part of a collection of houses on one borehole supply which may exceed 20m3 per day.

If you abstract/transfer less than 20m3 per day you do not need to apply for a licence.

TB – Resolved Inconclusive Reactor Policy

This policy came into effect on 1st November 2017.

A resolved IR is an animal that had an inconclusive test result, but then subsequently has a clear re-test.

  • Following the clear re-test of an IR on a holding, in the High Risk Area (HRA), Edge Area, and TB breakdown herds in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England, the resolved IR is restricted for life to the holding on which it was found.
  • These restrictions may be lifted following a subsequent negative interferon-gamma blood test of the individual animal, either carried out by a Private Veterinary Surgeon (with permission from APHA), or during a mandatory interferon-gamma test carried out by the APHA.
  • Resolved IR’s can only be moved off the holding under licence from APHA, either directly to slaughter or to an approved finishing unit. If a resolved IR tests positive to the gamma test, it is considered a reactor and normal TB breakdown procedures apply.
  • It is recommended that these animals are physically identified, such as freeze branding, management tag or marking the passport, to prevent them from accidentally moving off the holding.

For more information please use the links below or contact APHA on  03000 200 301

Farm Herefordshire Evaluation Survey

The Farm Herefordshire initiative has been running for a number of years with the aim of promoting good practice, training and advice to farmers. The key aim is to help farmers reduce diffuse pollution in the River Wye catchment. This is because Herefordshire faces a number of challenges in meeting the phosphate targets of the River Wye’s special area of conservation. All industries, including agriculture, are expected to reduce their contributions proportionally and Farm Herefordshire was established to support farmers in doing this. It is supported by a group of organisations including the NFU that have formed a collaborative partnership to support farming in Herefordshire.
In order to gather further information on land practices in Herefordshire an evaluation of the initiative is being carried out by the Brightspace Foundation. The purpose of the Farm Herefordshire evaluation is to identify levels of knowledge about soil and water quality in Herefordshire and learn about any positive land-use activities that have been carried out locally. They are especially interested in gaining the views of farmers and land use managers. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and your responses and time taken are greatly appreciated. Here is the link to the survey:

Free and confidential advice for farmers in the Teme, Onny & Clun catchments

Make your farm future fit  – FREE Water and Soil Plans

Our advisors will:

  • Visit and assess your farm
  • Identify your goals and visions
  • Develop a plan with you

We can offer: 

  • FREE Soil Testing – to assess your soil structure and test for organic matter, pH, P, K. and Mg.
  • Nutrient Management – we can check your farm for erosion risk.
  • Water Management – we will look at the sources, pathways and receptors of water on your farm

Why you should sign up?

  • Keep your farm compliant
  • Get your farm future fit
  • Find out about funding opportunities

To arrange a visit or check if you are in the catchment area, please contact your area advisor

  • Teme Catchment
    Katherine Whistance, 01886 888394 / 07968 391041
  • Onny Catchment
    Ame Holroyd, 01938 559500 or 07812 113918 email
  • Clun Catchment
    Fiona Gomersall 07539 752897 email

Herefordshire & Worcestershire Farmers visit Duchy Home Farm

Blessed with some late summer sunshine, the West Worcestershire/East Herefordshire Farm Resilience group took at trip to Duchy Home Farm, Gloucestershire.

The 770 ha organic farm, comprising of mixed livestock and arable production gave the group food for thought as the dairy, beef and sheep enterprises were all explored during the visit. The importance of woodland management, grassland management and the using of rare breed/heritage varieties all play an integral part in the running of this commercial farm.

The day was organised through the Prince’s Countryside Fund programme with funding from The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund Applications 2019

This fund is now open to help GROUPS of farmers, foresters and land managers improve the natural environment, enabling them to work together on a landscape scale to have a positive impact on the environment. Local projects already being funded include Land, Life and Livelihoods, Go Wild in the Curl and Herefordshire Meadows.

  • Application details and guidance HERE
  • Date for applications to be submitted by midnight 4th October
  • Application eligibility checking 7 – 11 Oct.(By RPA)
  • Contracts and agreements drafted and in place by end of December to allow a 1 January 2020 start.