7 January 2002
Don’t plough to dodge law – Whitty

By FWi staff

FOOD and Farming Minister Lord Whitty has appealed for farmers not to plough up land to avoid new laws on uncultivated ground.

Environmental assessments must be made before new land is brought into intensive agriculture under rules which come into force in February.

The regulation will apply to unimproved grassland, heath, moorland, scrubland and wetlands.

Lord Whitty said farmers could cause “irreversible environmental damage” if they ploughed previously uncultivated land to avoid the new laws.

“Dont plough up your land and risk destroying valuable environmental habitats without considering the consequences,” he said.

The minister said the introduction of Environmental Impact Assessment was a European requirement and the UK was not “gold-plating” regulations.

“There is a clear public interest in safeguarding our most valuable and sensitive landscape and historic features and our wildlife habitats.”

A leaflet explaining the new rules will be sent to all farmers later this month. The laws will not be retrospective but do apply from 1 February.