Know How / Compliance

Farmers have to comply with an ever-changing array of financial, planning, environmental, animal welfare, safety and employment legislation.

This page will guide you through the maze of rules and regulations, highlight when new ones are being introduced and offer advice on how to avoid common pitfalls.

Key areas of focus:

  • Environmental permits and licenses
  • NVZs
  • Cross-compliance
  • Farm inspections
  • Cattle movement and transport

Practical advice

See all


Environmental Impact Assessments – what's required?

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) may be needed when a change to the use of uncultivated or semi-natural land is planned. The rules have not changed, but revised guidance and…


10 questions to ask your mobile sheep dip contractor

Farmers are being urged to check that their contract sheep dipper is abreast of the latest regulations in an industry-wide effort to promote best practice. As of this summer, the…


What the advice-based EA farm visit inspections will involve

Additional resources for farm inspections by the Environment Agency (EA) means that many farmers have already received letters to notify them that farms in their area may be visited. The…


How to stay legal when felling trees - new rules apply

The government recently introduced unlimited fines to deter illegal tree felling in England. It follows concern over possible rising levels of illegal felling, particularly ahead of development proposals being submitted.…


Cross-compliance 2023: RPA to be pragmatic on penalties

Farmers who are selected for a cross-compliance inspection in 2023 will be less likely to suffer a financial penalty for any breaches if they can demonstrate they are positively engaged…


Changes to residential tenancy rules for farm landlords

New residential tenancy legislation continues to be introduced across Great Britain, making the lettings process for rural landlords increasingly complex and demanding. Many of the recent changes are designed to…


A guide to the updated autumn manure spreading rules

Updated guidance on how the Environment Agency (EA) should apply the Farming Rules for Water has cleared the way for muckspreading this coming autumn and winter. This is provided there…


Slurry grants: Funding and changes around the UK

Tighter muck and slurry spreading and storage requirements are now in place across the UK. We take a look at the rules for each of the nations, what funding is…


Public access in rural areas – how to deal with problems

Tension between farmers and visitors was heightened during the pandemic as record numbers visited the UK countryside, with infringements ranging from parked cars blocking gateways to dog walkers straying from…


Top livestock cross-compliance breaches and how to avoid them

Failings in cattle and sheep identification and animal welfare issues topped the league table of cross-compliance breaches in 2020, provisional inspection results show. Of more than 8,140 Basic Payment Scheme…


6 ways to prepare for tighter slurry regulations

Pressure from the government's Clean Air Strategy to cut ammonia emissions means farms must look closely at slurry and manure management this year – if they haven’t done so already.…


Stricter rules on firewood sales – what you need to know

Firewood sales are to be regulated to outlaw the burning of wet wood and help the UK government meet its air pollution ambitions. By May 2022, all sales of firewood…


See all


Farmers reveal ‘brutal’ treatment at hands of RPA

Farmers are calling for the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to carry out a root-and-branch review of how it manages agri-environment schemes amid concerns that hundreds have been unfairly penalised with…


The rules for arable farming in an NVZ in NI and Scotland

Nitrate vulnerable zones exist to protect the environment against potential pollution from fertiliser and manure applications. Each devolved nation has its own rules – so what do arable farmers need…


Analysis: Industry reacts to new autumn muckspreading rules

The Environment Agency (EA) is facing fierce criticism following the publication of its guidance on spreading organic manures, which critics say will prevent applications to most fields in England this…


New assurance rules on crops for biofuel from 1 July

Arable farmers need to comply with new rules on growing crops for the biofuel market. From 1 July 2021, production standards set out in the EU Renewable Energy Directive (Red)…


Welsh farmers reveal crippling costs of new NVZ rules

The clash between farmers and the Welsh government over the new all-Wales nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ) is intensifying into one of the most bitter disputes ever waged in the Welsh…


How poultry assurance scheme can slash permit costs

Poultry farms with more than 40,000 bird places could save £940/year on Environment Agency (EA) charges by signing up to a new assurance scheme. Farms with units of this size…


Farming rules for water: What’s in store?

The farming rules for water regulations (2018) (FRfW) were introduced to create a national baseline for good farm practices. They require land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse…


How the new poultry standards proposals will affect farmers

Earlier this year, two consultations on farm assurance standards for the UK poultry sector came to a close. Red Tractor and Defra propose changes that will help keep standards up…


The rules for arable farming in an NVZ in England

Nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) account for about 55% of land in England, making it more likely than not that a farming enterprise is within a designated NVZ. So with NVZs…


Farmers split on Red Tractor standards proposals

Farmers are fairly evenly split in their approach to the Red Tractor consultation on standards – and the organisation in general – a recent Farmers Weekly poll suggests. Using our…


Red Tractor - the pros and cons of farm assurance schemes

Red Tractor – the UK’s largest farm assurance scheme – is currently consulting on the next iteration of its standards as it attempts to keep up with consumer expectations, legislation…


Q&A: How do organic farm inspections work under lockdown?

Organic farmers audited by Soil Association Certification will continue to be inspected remotely until at least the end of September. The organisation sets out tips and advice for farmers to…