Last month Defra published its Clean Air Strategy which proposes ways to tackle sources of air pollution across England.
Whilst recognising that farming has to play its part in improving air quality, the NFU is extremely concerned by proposals put forward which include limiting nitrogen fertiliser use, permitting large dairy farms, regulation on dairy housing as well as manure and slurry storage and spreading.
Having recently collaborated with DairyUK and AHDB Dairy on the Dairy Roadmap, which demonstrates the environmental achievements of the sector over the last decade, the NFU will continue working with industry partners to provide a robust response to Defra with a strong case for improved support and guidance, as well as targeted financial aid where necessary.
To understand how this support can best be targeted, we are asking members to take part in a short online questionnaire focusing on farm infrastructure and investment and slurry related practices. The anonymous information will inform the NFU’s response to the Clean Air Strategy consultation which closes on 14th August.
The NFU is extremely interested in hearing your views and would be grateful if you could take 5 minutes to respond on this important issue.
NFU Dairy Board Chairman Michael Oakes said: "Whilst the dairy sector is committed to improving its environmental performance, demonstrated by the recent Dairy Roadmap Report, we do not see permitting as the best way to achieve this. The proposals outlined in the strategy will be extremely costly to implement and as yet there isn’t sufficient evidence to show they will lead to the intended environmental outcomes.
We need an evidence led approach to mitigation what incorporates both guidance and support. Tackling the problem by imposing costly regulation on farmers without providing sufficient support or advice will have a detrimental impact on a sector which is still recovering from recent market downturns. This at a time when Government wants to increase agricultural productivity and competitiveness.
We will continue to work with other industry stakeholders to provide a strong response to the consultation and I encourage all NFU dairy farmer members to take 5 minutes to fill out the NFU’s Farm Practice Survey which will help inform our response on this important issue or to respond to the consultation directly – deadline 14th August."