29 January 1999
Permission needed for chemical disposal
By Robert Davies
FARMERS will have to apply for outline authorisation to dispose of agrochemicals on land by 31 March or risk big fines.
Though the government has failed to produce draft guidelines on how the new Groundwater Regulations will be implemented, application forms for registration are now available.
These must be returned with a map showing the proposed disposal site and all watercourses and private water abstraction points on neighbouring land.
Applicants must also indicate the slope of the land and the nature of the soil.
Placing responsibility for the prior inspection of a site on to the applicant rather than the Environment Agency has cut the suggested cost of initial registration from over £800 to £84.
Farmers who apply by the end of March but do not get conformation of their licence will be able to assume they have “deemed authorisation” and can use sites after 1 April.
Those who do not return forms in time will have wait until their subsequent application is approved or, in the event of groundwater pollution, face the possibility of a magistrates court fine of up to £20,000 and three months in prison.
Offenders convicted of more serious offences by a crown court face unlimited fines and up to two years in jail.
The delay in issuing guidelines for consultation and lack of publicity about the 1 April deadline has infuriated the Farmers Union of Wales, which has asked for implementation to be deferred.