400 farmers in Herefordshire have received letters from the Environment Agency’s remote inspection team this week identifying potential beaches of Rule 6 the Farming Rules for Water which requires appropriate action to be taken to prevent soil erosion and runoff.
We and several of our Farm Herefordshire partners are in discussions with the Environment Agency to understand the process used and how it could be improved in future based on feedback we’ve had from several farms that fields identified had been direct drilled with stubble residues and had green cover.
The guidance referred to in the letters can be found here: Applying the farming rules for water – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Whether the fields identified during these remote inspections were in breach or not, this increased level of regulatory presence in the catchment is likely to continue while soil and nutrient losses from farming remain at high levels. Those that comply with the regulatory requirements have nothing to worry about and we encourage everyone to maintain evidence about cultivation/establishment dates either as field records or photographs to resolve any queries if they arise.