What’s the so­lu­tion?

Countryfile Magazine - - News -

GREATER FINES

The max­i­mum fine is £50,000 but this level of cost is rarely im­posed. “Puni­tive fines helps with some in­di­vid­u­als but can be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive,” said Ben Briggs of Farm­ers Guardian. “It just in­creases the sense of hos­til­ity that farm­ers can feel. A closer work­ing re­la­tion­ship and more di­a­logue would be bet­ter.” “Fines work quite well but the En­vi­ron­ment Agency has been cut and is un­able to mon­i­tor as it used to,” says Mark Lloyd.

AL­TER FARM­ING PRAC­TICES

Plant­ing crops so that they slant away from rivers re­duces the flow of sed­i­ment. Work­ing with the weather, such as not lay­ing slurry after heavy rain, also helps.

“Dif­fer­ent farm­ing prac­tices are

win­ning favour,” says Briggs. “There’s more in­ter­est in not plough­ing the field all year. If a large chunk of a field goes into a river, it’s not good for the en­vi­ron­ment and it’s not good for the farmer to lose that much qual­ity of soil.”

“Some farm­ers have be­come

evan­gel­i­cal,” says Lloyd. “They see how the soil im­proves, their yields go up.”

The NFU’s Diane Mitchell ad­vo­cates buf­fer strips and in­field grass strips; plant­ing and har­vest­ing in good con­di­tions; help­ing rain per­me­ate, rather than run off, by leav­ing a rough soil sur­face.

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