Clean air strategy: It’s too soon for legislation on farms

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has submitted its response to the Government’s Clean Air Strategy consultation, and is warning against rushing into unnecessary legislation as this will have a negative impact on UK farm competitiveness and production.

The draft Clean Air Strategy produced earlier this summer outlines the Government’s ambitions relating to reducing air pollution and sits alongside three other UK Government strategies: the Industrial Strategy, Clean Growth Strategy and 25 Year Environment Plan.

TFA Farm Policy Adviser, Lynette Steel said “There is no doubt that the agricultural industry must play it’s part in helping to reduce emissions however we urge the Government to understand that further UK based research into managing emissions is needed before introducing legislation.”

“The Code of Good Agricultural Practice (COGAP) for Reducing Ammonia Emissions published in July will help to bring the issue of reducing air pollution to the fore and start a change in culture. It is vital that any targets set by Government should be realistic and not have a negative effect on farm competitiveness”, said Lynette.

The Clean Air Strategy must consider the impact legislation would have on short term tenants and their lack of ability to plan for long term investments in infrastructure without the support of landlords. The TFA is pressing that any new regulations do not discriminate against tenant farmers and while the TFA welcomes grant aid to allow investment into emission reducing technology, this needs to be part of a plan led initiative.

“The livestock sector, predominately dairy farmers, will be impacted by the draft strategy and with volatile markets and the increasing likelihood of a no-deal Brexit we are concerned that moving directly to legislation will create problems for production and barriers to innovation”, said Lynette.

“Farmers already adhere to a number of pollution reducing activities and while emissions must be included, any new clean air legislation must work alongside these in a joined up way”, said Lynette.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.