British Farmers are experiencing increasingly intense pressure to improve the way they store chemicals, including Plant Protection Products (PPPs), says Suffolk-based chemical storage container supplier Billie Box. The Environment Agency, it says, makes clear what is expected of farmers with regards to storing chemicals not only securely, but handling chemicals in a way that reduces the risk of accidental environmental contamination. In fact the freely available Environment Agency ‘Inspecting Officers Guidelines’ is sobering reading for any farmers who are not adequately taking care of their PPPs, says the company.
But farmers are not just under increasing pressure from Government agency regulations. The Red Tractor farm assurance scheme also has strict food and environmental safety requirements.
The issue is compounded by supermarket chains and similar organisations (with significant purchasing power), which are also making demands. For example, the Tesco’s Nature’s Choice scheme specifically forbids farmers from handling chemicals on gravel.
On even the best managed farms, storage space is at a premium, continues Billie Box, with external factors like income diversification adding to the issue. Even if, for example, there is a spare shed available for conversion to a compliant chemical store, the cost of conversion can prove prohibitive. The time spent planning and executing the project can also develop into an issue if farmers receive an enforcement notice and need to respond swiftly.
Billie Box has launched www.chemicalstorage4farmers.co.uk – a service supplying farmers with heavy duty chemical storage containers. These converted shipping containers have a steel-bunded floor and tamper-resistant security. All Billie Box chemical stores include steel shelving and appropriate ventilation. These chemical stores offer a ‘fit and forget’ solution to the problem of chemical storage on farms, notes the company.
The stores also have the advantage of being entirely separate from any existing barns and outbuildings, it concludes.