All farmers must ensure that they have registered farm waste exemptions with the Environment Agency before the deadline of September 30 to avoid prosecution.
The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, which cover activities such as reusing, treating and disposing of waste, expire on September 30, 2013.
Unless the exemptions are registered with the Environment Agency before this date, continuing to carry out exempted activities will be classed as a criminal offence and could result in prosecution.
Commenting in advance of this deadline, James Bendle of H&H Land and Property, who has already completed various registrations for a number of clients, said: “The Environment Agency has written to farmers to remind them to renew these exemptions, but not everyone we have worked with has received the letter.
“In either case, all farmers throughout England and Wales are required to register their waste exemptions before the deadline.
“Many clients have been surprised to hear which activities now require exemptions, often for activities that have been taken for granted in the past.
“Likewise, many farming operations have altered greatly in recent years, and will continue to do so in years to come, so we would urge all farmers to seek advice to ensure that they have the correct cover to avoid prosecution.”
The new exemptions are divided into five categories which cover the use, treatment, disposal and storage of waste as well as a category for temporary storage.
James added: “Essential on-farm activities such as burning hedge cuttings, storing waste plastic for recycling, using tyres on silage clamps and the spreading of ditch/pond dredgings are covered by the regulations and need registration.
“Unless you register your waste exemptions, you will not legally be allowed to continue, for example, using construction rubble for building foundations or farm tracks, or using paper pulp and woodchip for livestock bedding, using waste clay to build slurry lagoons, and treating organophosphate (OP) sheep dip before disposal.”
The Environment Agency has set up an online registration system for farmers to renew their exemptions. Details on accessing the website are included in the letters that have been sent out.
The exemptions themselves are free to register, however it is essential that the appropriate exemptions are tailored to each individual farming business.
James said: “Remember, if you carry on these actions without registering your exemptions, you will be committing a criminal offence and will face prosecution.
“It’s important that farmers consider the implications to their business if they don’t act now.
“Not everyone has received the letter, and we would urge all farmers to check their paperwork, and also anyone who has not previouslyregistered any exemptions to do so for the first time before the deadline.”
H&H Land and Property work with farmers and landowners across Northern England and the Scottish Borders from their offices in Carlisle and Durham.