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Farmers: Transport

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will review the cross-compliance rules on permission for farmers to travel on wet land, with particular reference to recent weather conditions; and if he will make a statement. (244413)

This summer saw unusually wet conditions and as a result DEFRA received requests from farmers for derogations to the cross compliance Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) standard prohibiting use of agricultural machinery on water logged soil. A derogation was granted which covered the period 10 September to 25 October 2008.

As part of a wider review of GAEC standards which is being conducted in response to the CAP Health Check, and to improve the standards where possible, we are considering how we can give greater responsibility and flexibility to farmers to manage the risks to their soil, including from the use of machinery on water logged land. We expect to consult on any proposed changes in 2009.