THE WELSH Assembly will take a tough line with farmers who fail to complete and return their Soil Management Self Assessment forms by the February 28 deadline.

Rural Affairs minister Carwyn Jones has warned that late returns will constitute a breach of cross-compliance requirements and could result in a financial penalty.

“The Assembly government‘s approach to cross-compliance has been popular among farmers and others with an interest in the countryside,” he said.

It was generally considered to strike the right balance between caring for the environment without unduly burdening the farming industry.

However, he was compelled to be firm about the implementation of the regulations and he urged farmers to heed the deadline date.