Farmers are reminded by the Environment Agency that they are now no longer able to tip waste on their land and restrictions on the open burning of synthetic waste materials have also been introduced.

New agricultural waste controls came into force at midnight on 14 May.

The NFU has warned that farmers need to be fully aware if a farm tip is found to be used on or after May 15 2006, it will result in severe penalties for the farmer concerned and costly remediation of the site.

But another key provision of the regulation does allow farmers to register exemptions with the Environment Agency

The EA has produced a comprehensive exemptions pack to help farmers through this registration process (available by phoning 0845 603 3113).

Examples of what farmers can do under exemptions include:
• Using waste paper as animal bedding.
• Using tyres on a silage clamp.
• Clearing mud and debris (dredgings) from water-courses such as streams and ditches and depositing it along their banks.
• Burning logs and branches from fallen or chopped down trees. Burning untreated timber from fence mending. Burning hedge trimmings, leaves, bark and any other naturally occurring plant matter.
• Disposal of plant tissue wastes such as diseased or spoiled crops on land at the farm where they are produced e.g. rotten potatoes.

Farmers have 12 months to register their exemptions. The can do so free of charge by calling the Environment Agency agricultural waste helpline on 0845 603 3113.

To make the registration process as easy as possible the Environment Agency has introduced a sector by sector timetable for registration.

However, this is only a suggested timetable and farmers from whichever sector are free to register at any time until 15 May 2007.

The suggested timetable is as follows:

June 06: oil seed rape, potatoes, horticulture, sugar beet

July-Aug 06: beef

Sept-Oct 06: sheep

Oct-Nov 06: dairy

Dec 06-Jan 07: cereals

Feb 07: pigs, broiler hens

Feb-Mar 07: laying hens