New rules to tackle diffuse water pollution from agriculture in England have been announced.
Defra expects the new legislation, which requires good farming practice, to come into effect on 2nd April 2018.
The rules include conducting soil tests at least every five years, planning use of manures and fertilisers and assessing whether there is a significant risk of pollution and not storing organic manures on land within 10 metres of inland freshwater or coastal water or within 50 metres of a spring, well or borehole.
Manufactured fertiliser must also not be applied within two metres of inland freshwater or coastal water.
They are expected to promote good practice in managing fertilisers and manures and encourage land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse pollution from runoff or soil erosion.
Defra states: “Water pollution from agriculture not only damages wildlife in our rivers and seas, it also affects our economy. It results in higher water bills from increased water treatment, impacts on tourism and affects our shellfish industry.”
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has pledged to streamline support for farmers to protect wildlife, enhance the environment and improve land use as the UK leaves the EU.