DEFRA HAS confirmed its intention to introduce tighter controls on the disposal of farm waste.

The government has published a consultation paper which proposes that national waste management controls must be extended to agriculture. 

It proposes a ban on the open burning of plastic waste and says farmers will not be allowed to dispose of waste in on-farm dumps without a landfill permit.

DEFRA says most agricultural waste is disposed of on-farm by open burning, by burial or by disposal in farm dumps but this can cause pollution of the environment.

It also suggests it can cause unnecessary health risks to farmers, farm workers and local communities.

Junior DEFRA minister Elliot Morley said: “For many years agriculture has been excluded from our national waste management controls.

“These proposals will extend existing waste management controls to farm waste for the first time.”

Deputy NFU president Peter Kendall, said the proposals presented significant challenges for everyone.

But he said: “We know that in many cases, the situation with agricultural waste on farms is not sustainable. It is not only bad for the environment but is also bad for farm businesses.

“We will be working closely with DEFRA, the Environment Agency and the agricultural supply industry in the months ahead.

“We are determined to develop practical and cost effective solutions that will help farmers continue to concentrate on running their businesses.”

The consultation is available at www.defra.gov.uk.