THE ENVIRONMENT Agency‘s agricultural policy adviser Hannah Bartram has said the government should think seriously about introducing a tax on nitrogen fertiliser use.

Commenting on DEFRA proposals to cut diffuse water pollution, Ms Bartram said that money raised by a tax could be used to reduce the farming industry‘s impact on the environment.

“There is not enough money currently in the system to achieve the necessary actions,” she said.

“The money from the tax could be used to fund catchment officers who would work with farmers and other landowners in river catchment areas to achieve best practice in fertiliser application and reduce nitrate pollution.

Other money could be used in incentive schemes to better manage the application of fertilisers and in other agri-environment schemes.

“We would want to see the money raised by the tax ploughed back into the industry, not hived off for other purposes.

“We are recommending that the government looks at this idea further,” she added.