Saturday, 2 March 2013

Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) regulations

It may just be a sign of a sheltered life, but the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) regulations are not at the front of my consciousness.  As they could have some bite, I suggest that you pause for a few moments to consider them.

The regulations cover two different types of project:
  • Projects on uncultivated land, or semi-natural areas that increase its productivity for agriculture.
    • The types of work covered will include: 
      • increasing levels of fertiliser or soil improvers 
      • sowing seed 
      • physically cultivating the soil (by ploughing, tine harrowing, rotovating etc) 
      • draining land 
      • clearing existing vegetation either physically or using herbicides.
  • Projects that physically restructure rural land holdings. This includes: 
    • the addition or removal of field boundaries 
    • recontouring the land through addition, removal or redistribution of earth or other material.
There are parallel regulations in all parts of the UK and before beginning any proposed work consideration must be given to whether it constitutes either an uncultivated land project or a rural restructuring project.   In both cases, you will need to apply to national authorities for a screening decision. 

There is a 35-day decision period for the authority to consider whether the project can proceed or will require consent. Consent will be necessary only if it is believed that the project is likely to have significant effects on the environment.

Inevitably, there is no shortage of bedtime reading on websites.  This is the link to the Natural England website, and there are links to the related information for Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland at the bottom of the page.

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