Defra consulted on a proposed set of “farming rules for water” at the end of 2015. Defra have now decided to introduce the rules as a requirement for all farmers. From 2nd April 2018 all farmers in England will need to follow these rules. New regulations will be made to give these rules legal force from then and the Environment Agency will be the regulator. The rules will:
• promote good practice in managing fertilisers and manures through eight rules covering planning and use, storage and application of fertilisers and manures and soil erosion measures
• encourage land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse pollution from runoff or soil erosion
• require protection of any land within 5 metres of a watercourse from being poached by livestock
• require soil tests at least every 5 years for cultivated land
Defra state they will work with farming industry partners and through existing advice channels so that everyone has the opportunity to understand the rules and detailed guidance will be published on GOV.UK before the rules come into force.