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Farm inspections warning

by 5m Editor
15 March 2005, at 12:00am

NORTHERN IRELAND - The Ulster Farmers’ Union says DOE and DARD’s approach to Cross Compliance farm inspections must be acceptable to farmers and done in a spirit of co-operation with the industry. The UFU has raised particular concerns about the role of the DOE’s Environment and Heritage Service (EHS), who will have inspection responsibility for the Nitrates Directive element of Cross Compliance.

Farm inspections warning - NORTHERN IRELAND - The Ulster Farmers’ Union says DOE and DARD’s approach to Cross Compliance farm inspections must be acceptable to farmers and done in a spirit of co-operation with the industry. The UFU has raised particular concerns about the role of the DOE’s Environment and Heritage Service (EHS), who will have inspection responsibility for the Nitrates Directive element of Cross Compliance.

Following a meeting with Environment and Heritage Service, the UFU has highlighted it’s concern that EHS has been adopting an ‘enforcement and prosecution’ approach to Duty of Care regulations, and claims this is unfair to farmers. UFU President Campbell Tweed said the issue must be resolved before EHS commences Nitrates Directive inspections.

Mr Tweed said; “The EHS approach to Duty of Care raises serious questions. It appears no effort has been made to educate farmers about these regulations, but some of our members are now facing prosecution. For example some farmers have contacted the UFU to say they are being prosecuted because they haven’t applied to EHS for a licence before receiving clay from another farm. Another farmer reported that he was threatened in writing with prosecution because someone had fly tipped on his land, but he was being held responsible by EHS. This is an unacceptable situation which needs to be re-examined by DOE”. Continued…

Mr Tweed said he had already raised farmers concerns directly with the Minister for the Environment Angela Smith and said the Union would be actively involved in insuring the new inspection process is constructed in an acceptable manner. He said the Union had consistently told Government that when inspectors visit a farm, they should adopt the attitude that they are trying to pass the farm business, rather than finding ways to penalise the farmer.

UFU Policy Officer Gillian Cheatley explained that the Duty of Care regulations governed the movement of controlled waste and those involved must register with the EHS. She said the problem to date is that the majority of landowners know very little about these regulations.

Source: Ulster Farmers' Union - 15th March 2005

5m Editor