All businesses create wastes and farms are no exception. If not handled correctly or passed on without care, farm wastes can cause environmental harm and nuisance. All waste handling is now covered by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.
Businesses handling only small quantities of waste or low risk wastes do not need an Environmental Permit, but must register for an exemption for these waste activities. In doing so they are agreeing to comply with simple requirements that help protect the environment. There is no charge for registering.
Most farmers registered their current Agricultural Waste Exemptions before 2010, when the latest regulations came into force, and these will soon expire (September 30). These old exemptions have been replaced by a new list of exempt activities.
Some are almost identical to exemptions in the old system, others are similar but have different limits and conditions and some are completely new. The new exemptions are grouped into five categories.
Slurry and farmyard manure handling is controlled by the Code of Good Agricultural Practice and other legislation and does not require an Agricultural Waste Exemption.
Farmers will soon be receiving letters from the Environment Agency’s Agricultural Waste Team asking them to register as well as reminding them of current exemptions. Failure to register means that from September 30 they will be operating without a permit and committing a criminal offence.
Farmers are asked to register online using the Government’s digital by default system. Guidance and further information is available at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/farmexemptions
Farmers who have stopped farming since 2010 do not need to do anything as their exemptions will simply expire.