• Defra grants soil quality regulation exemption

Environmental Laboratory

Defra grants soil quality regulation exemption

Sep 11 2008

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced a suspension from its regulations on waterlogged soil in order to help farmers complete their harvest.

It has granted a temporary exemption from the cross-compliance standard, meaning farmers can use vehicles and mechanical equipment on waterlogged soil in order to access their crops in England.

Under usual regulations, these actions are not permitted in order to protect soil quality.

The exemption has been permitted as a result of exceptional weather conditions and will run until October 4th 2008, subject to review.

Hilary Benn, environment secretary, said: "I am very aware of the problems that farmers are facing in many parts of the country in getting the harvest in after all the heavy rain there has been and the prohibition on using machinery on waterlogged soil is likely to make the problem worse."

He added that the government has consulted with the National Farmers Union and will do all that it can to help the harvest in this situation.

Defra notes that UK farming contributed £5.8 billion to the economy during 2007.

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