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Farmers told to get waste off their land

Waste management controls are to be applied to agricultural waste for the first time in England and Wales from May 15.

This means that the regulations will apply to agriculture just like they have for other industries for many years.

Environment minister Ben Bradshaw said: “This change is a real opportunity to develop a practical system for minimising and managing agricultural waste. Waste is often a hidden business cost. I hope that farmers up and down the country see the changes more as a business opportunity than a regulatory burden.

“Farmers must stop using their farms dumps to dispose of their waste before the regulations come into force on 15 May.

“Any farmer who continues to use a farm dump from 15 May will be required to close it down in accordance with the requirements of the regulations.”

About 400,000 tonnes of agricultural waste is produced each year. It includes old pesticide containers, silage wraps, tyres, batteries and oil. Manure and slurry are not a waste when used as a fertiliser.

Farmers will have five options for dealing with waste. These are:

  • Store their waste on-farm for up to 12 months
  • Take their waste for recycling or disposal off-farm at a licensed site
  • Get an authorised waste contractor to take their waste away
  • Register license exemptions with the Environment Agency to recycle or dispose of their waste on-farm. Farmers can register at any stage during the first 12 months of the regulations
  • Apply to the Environment Agency for a waste management license or a landfill permit to recycle or dispose of their waste on-farm.

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