Help us inform Farming Rules for Water review

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Defra has launched a review of the Farming Rules for Water and has invited stakeholders to feed in by responding to a range of questions on the regulations.

NFU members can now view our draft response here - please return any comments to [email protected] by 20 January

The Farming Rules for Water were introduced in 2018 as a new, advice-led approach towards regulating the impact of farming on the water environment.

However, the rules have caused issues for some members, particularly around the requirement to plan nutrient applications so as not to exceed soil and crop need, and the NFU has worked closely with Defra agencies on how they should be interpreted.

This consultation provides the NFU with the opportunity to reinforce this work and we will be consulting members before submitting a response at the end of January 2021 to gather further views.

The questions being posed by Defra are:

  • To what extent (if at all) do you think the Farming Rules for Water have been effective in reducing nutrient pollution from agriculture?
  • Do the rules provide a proportionate baseline regulation for land managers?
  • How well understood are the rules among land managers?  Are there any issues with the provisions that land managers struggle with?
  • What is your view about compliance with and enforcement of the rules?
  • What are the costs associated with complying with the rules, both for individual farms and farming industries as a group? Have these presented challenges to farmers?
  • Have there been any unintended effects of the rules on land managers?
  • Is there an opportunity to reduce the burden of these regulations? If so can you describe any examples or options on how this could be done?
  • Is the existing type of regulation (focused on outcomes) the correct approach to regulating agriculture?

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