The chairman of the National Fallen Stock Company has warned that Trading Standards officers are prepared to prosecute farmers found to be flouting the burial ban.

Derbyshire farmer Michael Seals said Trading Standards officers seemed to be “gearing themselves up” to take a closer look at how farmers are disposing of fallen stock.

“Trading standards have been asking us to go to conferences to explain the fallen stock scheme. They have also been talking about the law itself and the need for enforcement of that law,” he warned.

Mr Seals said farmers could make sure they were complying with the law by joining the national fallen stock collection scheme.

He acknowledged that some farmers had experienced problems with the service, but said this was down to the absence of a private collection infrastructure in some regions.

Charges were higher in the south east of England because a lack of collectors meant lorries were having to travel in from other areas, he explained.

The problems experienced by sheep farmers in north Wales during lambing had been down to the fact that it was a huge area, with a lot of sheep and only one significant collector.

“The scheme isn’t perfect because the infrastructure we are working with isn’t perfect,” he said, “But I’d give it eight out of 10. We’ve got most of it right, even if our limitations are frustrating.”

Mr Seals said the NFSCo was encouraging its 141 collectors to develop a bulk collection system which should reduce pressure on the service.

Some collectors were resistant as they needed to invest in vehicles capable of carrying the collection bins, he said. But he hoped that at least 20% would sign up.

One collector that has already agreed to do this is Wrexham-based Clutton Agricultural which operates across north Wales.

Sam Clutton said he was planning to offer farmers collection bins because it would reduce the pick-ups needed and allow him to run a 24hr service at peak periods.

To improve the service he offers to farmers, he had also taken on six extra drivers, increased his fleet size and plans to open two new sites.

Mr Clutton said if he could get his two new sites up and running he would be more confident of meeting demand for the service next spring.

Graham Godbold, a spokesman for the Trading Standards Institute, said: “If a farmer has tried to get an animal collected and there has been a failing in the collection service [we’ve said] it would not be right to prosecute the farmer. But if they flout the legislation or do nothing with the carcass we will take action.”

isabel.davies@rbi.co.uk