A key document offering practical interpretation of legislation and good advice on best practice is: Protecting our Water, Soil and Air: A Code of Good Agricultural Practice for farmers, growers and land managers(the ‘CoGAP’). ‘Good agricultural practice’ is about minimising the risk of causing pollution, while protecting natural resources and allowing economic agriculture to continue. The document has been written by technical specialists from Defra and Natural England.
All farm staff and contractors on the farm who handle, store, use, spread or dispose of any substances that could pollute water, soil or air should be aware of their responsibilities and know about the causes and results of pollution.
They should know how and when to operate and maintain the equipment they use and know what to do in an emergency. An accident management plan can help with this: AHDB Pork Model Template B3.5 3c Appendix - Accident Management Plan.
Parts of this Code of Good Agricultural Practice form a Statutory Code under Section 97 of the Water Resources Act 1991 – see paragraphs 8, 9 of the code.
The CoGAP provides an important point of reference, based around the main operations that farmers, growers and land managers might undertake; the advice covers activities carried out in the field but also management plans, farm infrastructure and waste management.
Environment Agency key actions for farmers
The Environment Agency key actions for farmers are a consistent set of actions which farmers can take to manage environmental impacts which will help to:
- Improve and protect soil health
- Improve and protect water quality
- Secure water resources
- Reduce and manage flood risk
- Protect air quality
- Adapt to a changing climate