ENVIRONMENT AGENCY farm advisers are reminding farmers and contractors to ensure they are properly authorised when dipping, showering or jetting sheep, or they could pay the price.

“Sheep dip is very polluting but, with proper authorisation and simple good practice, farmers and contractors can avoid risks to the environment and help ensure they do not fall foul of Common Agriculture Policy Cross-Compliance requirements, with threats to their Single Farm payment from 2005,” said Bob Merriman, EA agriculture policy advisor.  

Farmers and contractors in England and Wales must have a valid authorisation from the EA to dispose of used dip chemical.

A code of practice for the Use and Disposal of Sheep Dip Compounds was published by DEFRA in 2001 and sets out good practice advice for protecting the environment when dipping, jetting or showering sheep, including the siting and use of mobile units.

“Overall, farmers have responded positively in recent years to reduce the frequency of serious water pollution incidents from farms.”

“There have, however, been very serious cases of pollution involving synthetic pyrethroid sheep dip chemicals in North West England and Herefordshire in recent months.”

“These incidents highlight how devastating synthetic pyrethroid dip chemicals are to river life.

“The incident in Herefordshire killed a very important population of native crayfish, a protected species which is in serious decline across England and Wales,” said Mr Merriman..

He added that EA investigations in mid-Wales have highlighted the damage caused by sheep being able to access streams immediately after dipping with, in some cases, apparently just a few wet sheep causing serious pollution.