Sewel gets tough on farm pollution

11 March 1998

Sewel gets tough on farm pollution

FARMERS can look forward to a “polluter pays” stick rather than a grant-aided carrot under new proposals to control pollution, Scottish agriculture and environment minister Lord Sewel told a conference yesterday.

Speaking at the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency conference at Dunkeld, Lord Sewel said the public now demanded that industries causing pollution accept responsibility for it and pay for the consequences.

Farmers could be required to gain approval for the disposal of any chemical
wastes, no matter how diluted, under a consultation document to implement the
European Unions (EU) groundwater directive currently under consideration.

He said no responsible person would argue there should not be some form of
control or approval procedure for the disposal of sheep dip or other similar

Other speakers cast doubt on plans for a vetting procedure to find land suitable for the disposal of low-volume waste. The cost of this has been estimated at around £500 a farm. It was suggested that other disposal methods for farm chemicals, such as sheep dip, should be found.

The Government is still looking closely at economic measures for reducing
water pollution which effectively amounts to a tax on pesticides and
fertilisers. This is being considered on a UK basis rather than across the EU.

  • The Scotsman 11/03/98 page 29

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