Farming is becoming a cleaner, greener industry according to an Environment Agency report.
Serious pollution incidents have fallen by 35% to an all time low, while more than 30,000 entry level schemes have been registered, half of which contain measures protecting soil and water.
The report – Spotlight on Business Environmental Performance in 2006 – acknowledges the role agriculture has to play in protecting rivers, lakes and estuaries from diffuse pollution.
Furthermore, the report stresses that working with farmers as part of catchment sensitive farming initiatives and other schemes is the best way to get good results for the environment.
The drop in the number of pollution incidents from farming suggests this is the case, adds the report.
The claims are substantiated by encouraging figures throughout the report, which is used to monitor business performance and the way industries, including agriculture, impact on the environment and countryside.
The NFU welcomed the report and highlighted several key areas:
- About a quarter of farmers now recycle or recover non-natural waste
- Since the introduction of agricultural waste controls, more than 500,000 waste exemptions have been registered
- Some farmers are already adapting to climate change by using resources more efficiently, changing cropping practices to suit the climate and altering soil and crop management practices to reduce flood risk.