DEFRA HAS clarified that a 2m uncultivated strip will be needed alongside any length of hedge which runs for 20m or more. It has also said strips will be needed next to hedges that are less than 20m if they meet another hedgerow at each end. Any gaps of 20m or less in a hedge line will also be treated as part of the hedgerow, so will require the 2m strip.

FIELD OPERATIONS

THE CIRCUMSTANCES under which farmers will be able to carry out mechanical field operations on waterlogged soil have been established more clearly. Significantly, farmers will be able to harvest a crop of fresh vegetables or fruit to meet contractual deadlines, or where the quality of the produce would deteriorate if not lifted.

PERMANENT GRASS

ANY LAND that is down to grass or herbaceous forage for five years will be classified as permanent pasture. This includes grassland that has been ploughed up and reseeded. It does not include land which is down to set-aside, which will remain classified as arable land.

STONES WALL REPAIRS

FARMERS WILL be allowed to remove stone from a wall and use it to repair another stone wall on their holding, but only if the second wall is in better condition than the one from which the stone was taken. Producers may also remove stones if they want to widen gaps in a wall, but the gap should be no wider than 10m.