DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn has granted farmers permission to use harvest machinery on wet ground until 4 October (subject to review) following representations from the NFU and other farming bodies.
The derogation applies only to harvest equipment and does not exempt activities such as ploughing, which would be bound by the normal Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition standard (GAEC 3) rules.
GAEC prohibits farmers from using motorised vehicles on wet soil. This protects soils from compaction and structural damage. But DEFRA called the recent wet weather ‘exceptional.’
Mr Benn said: “We need to do all we can to help the harvest and I hope this decision will go some way to assist farmers who have been most affected.”