Sunday, May 28

There is a law against manure heaps


by Christoper Booker

Some weeks back, I had an anguished call from my farmer friend Robin Page. Was it true, he asked, that under new regulations it would be a criminal offence,when he is clipping a hedge, to make a bonfire of the trimmings?
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It is astonishing how little attention has been paid to these new regulations, the latest bureaucratic insanity to be dropped on Britain's farmers, which go far wider than most have yet realised.
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For years, the UK Government resisted applying to British agriculture the European Commision's plethora of rules governing the disposal of waste, because this would present farmers with such a host of problems.
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But the European Court of Justice has insisted that the UK must comply, with theresult that, from May 15, it has indeed become a criminal offence for farmers tocarry out any task around the farm that involves what the EC chooses to call"waste", unless they get specific written permission for an "exemption" from the Environment Agency.
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Such controlled tasks include anything from spreading manure on fields, or allowing vegetable stalks to rot down in the soil, to burning the straw from acattle shed. What becomes completely illegal is anything which can be describedin EU-speak as a "dump" or "tip". This includes anything from a manure heap toan old plough rusting in the corner of a farmyard (even a "single deposit ofwaste" is now deemed a "tip").
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Not only did it become a criminal offence to add a single item to such "dumps"after May 15, but within a year the farmer must pay up to £228 a tonne to haveit removed by a licensed waste carrier to a licensed waste tip (or payastronomic sums for a full landfill site licence).
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Defra admits that compliance with this new law will cost farmers up to £70million a year, quite apart from the cost of the army of new officials needed toprocess those millions of exemptions.
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As for my friend Mr Page, he will at least be permitted to continue burning hishedge clippings, so long as he first gets an exemption from the Environment Agency. But he must not burn anything else on that fire, specifically includingpaper. If he uses newspaper or a pile of old Defra forms to light it, he will becommitting a criminal act.
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Such are the benefits of belonging to the European Union - although you can bet that not a single other country has yet taken any notice.

1 comment:

Thatsnews said...

The EU is a club. A club for hitting Britain with...