Farmers must register their agricultural waste exemptions before the end of September or it will be assumed they are not required, says farm business consultancy Strutt & Parker.
A new system for waste exemptions was introduced in 2010 and all existing exemptions must be transferred by September 30.
All farmers who have exemptions registered under the old system will be receiving or will have already received a letter from the Environment Agency (EA) asking them to transfer their exemptions to the new system.
Most transfers should be straightforward because they include the same wastes, volumes and rules, and the EA has produced a booklet which highlights how old exemptions can be matched to new ones.
Suzanne Horn, farm business consultant in Strutt & Parker’s Morpeth office, said: “It is imperative that farmers act on the letters from the EA and ensure their exemptions are registered by the deadline. It is also vital to stick to the specific rules and limits which are conditional of the exemptions.
“You can still apply after September 30, but this will leave a period where activities covered by exemptions cannot be carried out.
“Not all of the old exemptions will be available under the new system and it is important to check what exemptions you have at present and whether you still need those exemptions. If farming operations have changed, then farmers may need to register additional exemptions.”
The new exemptions fall into four categories: use of waste, treatment of waste, disposal of waste and storage of waste.
Complex exemptions under the old system will be more difficult to transfer across because they may not be considered low risk enough to qualify for an exemption.
Higher-risk activities are now covered by environmental permits and advice may need to be taken, if the equivalent new exemption does not cover the specific waste type, quantity or specific activity.
Any business that has been established since April 6, 2010, and has registered their waste exemptions will have registered them under the new system and does not need to re-register. These exemptions will need renewing every three years.
Registrations can be done online or by post.