The Environment Agency (EA) has greater than doubled its fee of farm inspections in England, discovering slurry and silage storage allow breaches at greater than half the websites it inspected.
According to a brand new report printed by the EA on Tuesday 1 November, the regulator carried out 721 inspections on 693 farms in 2021 – greater than twice the quantity for 2020.
That uplift got here as the federal government awarded the company further funding particularly to extend farm visits.
See additionally: Environment Agency accused of aggressive dealing with of farmers’ circumstances
Data revealed within the Regulating for People, Environment and Growth report (PDF) 2021 exhibits that 976 enchancment actions had been issued to farmers on account of these inspections and 413 had since been accomplished.
Breaches of the Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil (SSAFO) rules, which govern slurry and silage storage infrastructure, accounted for 52% of these notices.
While, at 43%, there was non-compliance with at the least one of many Farming Rules for Water.
Failure to have the present nutrient planning and soil exams beneath Rule 1 had been essentially the most recurring breaches recognized, the report said.
Enforcement a ‘final resort’
“Our response has been to advise and information farmers, utilizing enforcement as a final resort,” it added.
The EA has additionally established a brand new distant sensing group to develop strategies to remotely assess compliance with agricultural rules utilizing satellite tv for pc imagery, as an example figuring out poached land that’s more likely to trigger air pollution.
Of the 561 critical air pollution incidents throughout all sectors in 2021, 54 had been brought on by farming actions, down from 58 in 2020.
Most of those had been the results of containment and management failures and half had been brought on by the dairy sector.
An upward development of incidents involving dairy farms has fallen since 2017, however the EA means that that is “not a ample sign of change to supply confidence of sustained enchancment within the sector”.
“Based on our inspection proof, during the last two years we nonetheless discover compliance total is low, with explicit issues round slurry storage and slurry administration,” the report revealed.
Dairy Crest incidents
Of the intense incidents involving trade, Dairy Crest’s Davidstow Creamery was liable for 4 of those.
This culminated in a latest £1.5m nice for poor administration of liquid waste, odour and environmental reporting.
For critical air pollution incidents involving odour, there have been none in agriculture in 2021, in comparison with eight in 2020 and 25 in 2018.
Meanwhile, farming was discovered to be liable for 43% of all methane emissions.
EA chief govt Sir James Bevan blamed agriculture for being a “important supply of environmental emissions and incidents”.
“Non-compliance right here leads to important destructive impacts on our rivers,” he mentioned. “Brexit is a substantial alternative to simplify and reform EU legacy laws for the higher.”