Low emissions charge hits farmer’s digestate deliveries

A Berkshire farmer says a company refused to make deliveries or collections to and from his farm as it did not want to pay the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge.

Colin Rayner, a director of J Rayner & Sons based in Horton, said he placed an order for digestate to be delivered to his farm.

But the company bosses told Mr Rayner they could not accept the order as they did not want to pay the daily ULEZ charge of £100 for certain larger vehicles, such as lorries, that do not meet the criteria.

See also: Updated safety guidance for receiving livestock feed deliveries

The farmer, said he even offered to pay for the charges himself, but the company refused and told him it was too much hassle and red tape. He did not want to name the company.

“We spread the digestate on our land before we plant our crops in the autumn. We wanted to spread it on winter barley stubble before we plant oilseed rape,” he explained.

“We find the digestate helps to keep pesky flea beetle numbers down. Now we are faced with having to spend more money to spray chemicals on the crops.”

Mr Rayner said it was ironic that the government ULEZ scheme aims to “save the environment” by reducing the number of vehicles that do not meet emissions standards, therefore improving the air quality in the London area.

Yet, on the other hand, having to spray more chemicals on his farm to control the flea beetle would be harmful for the environment.

Mr Rayner believes other farmers who farm around the M25 corridor where the new ULEZ charge, which is being introduced from 29 August this year, could be similarly affected.

Are you a farmer in the M25 area who has been refused a delivery order due to the ULEZ charge? Email philip.case@markallengroup.com

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