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Farming Rules for Water EA Update

Last updated: 04 Aug 2021

On 3 August 2021 the Environment Agency (EA) published a regulatory position statement (RPS) on spreading organic manures this autumn and winter.

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Previously the government has indicated autumn applications of manure are likely to breach Rule 1 of the Farming Rules for Water unless the AHDB Nutrient Management Guide (RB209) says the receiving crop has an immediate nitrogen requirement. This was an interpretation of Rule 1, saying manure and fertiliser applications to agricultural land must be planned so as to not ‘exceed the needs of the soil and crop on that land’ or ‘give rise to a significant risk of agricultural diffuse pollution’.

The RPS says farmers can apply organic manure to agricultural land that may exceed the needs of the soil or crop on that land in certain situation but must not cause a risk of pollution. Farmers intending to use the RPS have to notify the EA of their intention to do so and ensure that they meet the conditions attached to the RPS. 

Read the Environment Agency regulatory position statement in full

The National Farmers Union (NFU) have highlighted the need for a longer-term solution to the issue that works for both the environment and farmers. NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts said: "The NFU will continue discussions with the Environment Agency, government and industry stakeholders - but a longer-term and more sustainable solution is urgently needed that benefits both farmers and the environment." Read the article in full here.

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