Start preparing now for new controls on farm waste

UK - Farmers, horticulturalists, waste contractors and suppliers should start preparing now for new waste management controls for agriculture due in 2004.
calendar icon 10 November 2003
clock icon 4 minute read
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Today a comprehensive leaflet summarising the changes and opportunities along with other new information is released by the Agricultural Waste Stakeholders' Forum.

The new information includes:

  • a summary document which highlights key issues and the results of recent research studies.
  • a report of a survey of 380 agriculture holdings in Great Britain to establish current waste management practices and attitudes.
  • a review of the most sustainable options for agricultural waste collection.
  • a report on the feasibility of 'take back' by suppliers.

The proposed changes will implement EU legislation applying to waste from all sectors of industry and mean that uncontrolled burning of waste on farms and the use of 'farm tips' will be unlawful.

Full consultation on the proposals will be published in the coming months to allow those affected to express their views.

Chairman of the Forum, Sue Ellis, of Defra said: "We want to encourage farmers, suppliers, waste contractors and others involved in agricultural waste to start thinking now about the proposed changes.

"Many farmers are already changing the way they deal with waste and research shows that the overwhelming majority - over 90 per cent - consider waste management as important to their business.

"Farm suppliers will need to play their part by minimising their packaging and considering the viability of 'take back' schemes.

"And to maximise opportunities waste contractors will need to improve their understanding of the needs of the agriculture sector and develop systems to deal with this new waste stream."

The Forum which produced today's information includes representatives from Government, farming organisations, the waste management industry and farm suppliers.

It was set up in 2002 to provide a Forum for the various stakeholders to discuss and inform the Government's forthcoming consultation paper and its proposals for extending to agricultural waste the waste management controls required by the Waste Framework Directive.

Dr Paul Leinster, Director of Environmental Protection, Environment Agency, said:

"The Environment Agency fully supports the work of the Forum and wants to see a regulatory system that is risk based, fair and proportionate to the environmental and health risks. We will work in partnership with farmers and the waste industry to build on good practice and find practical solutions to managing waste on farms including minimisation, recycling and reuse. We would urge everyone concerned to have their say during the consultation."

The National Farmers' Union said:

"The NFU is very concerned about additional pressures the forthcoming changes to legislation will bring to agricultural and horticultural businesses. Our role on the Forum has been to seek realistic and least-cost solutions to the problems.

"Much has still to be done. We believe that the real benefit to the environment will be realised when re-use and recycling schemes for packaging and other wastes are available and economical"

Source: Defra - 7th November 2003

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