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Agriculture: Wastes

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate the Government have made of the costs likely to be incurred by farmers for arranging slurry storage for six months under the proposed nitrate vulnerable zones directive; (175755)

(2) what plans the Government have to compensate farmers for the extra costs incurred in storing slurry for six months under the proposed nitrate vulnerable zones directive.

[holding answer 7 January 2008]: The partial regulatory impact assessment and paper ‘G4—Assistance on the partial RIA including extended Nitrate Vulnerable Zones’, published in support of the consultation on implementation of the nitrates directive in England, provide details of my Department's assessment of the likely cost to farmers of the proposed nitrates action programme measures. Both these papers are available to view on DEFRA's website.

These assessments estimate the likely cost to farmers of meeting the proposed manure storage requirements as in the range £19 million to £24 million per year. This is assuming that the action programme is applied within proposed nitrate vulnerable zones covering 70 per cent. of England. Costs will be higher if the decision is taken to apply the action programme to the whole of England (annualised over 20 years).

My Department has also committed £98 million (under the rural development programme) to the livestock sector, to improve competitiveness, animal welfare and on-farm management of nutrients.