Farmers warned to prepare for Environment Agency inspections 

A farm business management expert warns farmers to be prepared for a visit from the Environment Agency amid a sharp rise in inspections. 

H&H Land & Estates warns farmers to be prepared for a visit from the Environment Agency amid a sharp rise in inspections. 

H&H Land & Estates says it is helping a growing number of farming clients across the North of England and Yorkshire to deal with the outcomes of an Environment Agency Farming Rules for water regulatory inspection.

Following a drive to recruit new inspectors, the EA is significantly increasing the number of on-farm visits, and many farmers are finding themselves facing the consequences of non-compliance.

According to H&H, the consequences of non-compliance are not punitive in most cases, but the actions required to meet the regulatory standard can be exhaustive.

Opportunity to drive improvement

Hannah Peile, farm business advisor at H&H.

Hannah Peile, farm business advisor at H&H, said that the team has been working with a growing number of farmers and landowners both to prepare for and deal with the requirements of a Farming Rules for Water inspection.

She added: “I suggest that the right preparation can turn an inspection from a threat into an opportunity to drive improvement.”

Ms Peile said that EA is responding to the growing pollution of rivers and watercourses, and its agricultural inspections are monitoring its farmers’ compliance with environmental regulations controlling potential pollution from slurry and silage, or from nitrates and phosphates in the soil.

Be prepared 

She added: “The EA is taking what they describe as an ‘advice-led’ approach, but it is far less stressful and time-consuming to be prepared for an inspection than having to play catch-up after the fact.

“A key part of our support for all our clients is to create soil and nutrient management plans that not only pre-empt an EA inspection but also provide the data and the detail required to achieve SFI and other environmental scheme support.

“There are SFI grants available to help farmers and landowners create these fundamental plans, and it is part of our service to help make a successful application for relevant funding.

“We would recommend all farmers and landowners to be prepared for the EA letter that advises an inspection is imminent, and turn it into a positive step in your plans for an environmentally and commercially sustainable future.”

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