Cross compliance rules apply to all farmers who claim through the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), a stewardship scheme or the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS). Cross compliance is made up of Statutory Management Rules (SMRs) and Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs).

Statutory Management Requirements (SMRs)

SMR1:     Reduce water pollution in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) – Claimants with land in NVZs must help to reduce water pollution by using and storing fertiliser and manure carefully.
SMR2:Wild birds – You must protect all wild birds, their eggs and nests. Extra rules apply if you have land classified as a Special Protection Area (SPA).  
SMR3:Habitats and species – You must protect species of flora and fauna. Extra rules apply if you have land designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
SMR4:Food and feed law – You must make sure that the production of food for human consumption and the production of food or feed that’s fed to food–producing animals is safe.
SMR5:Restrictions on the use of substances having hormonal or thyrostatic action and betaagonists in farm animals – It is illegal to use substances that have a hormonal or thyrostatic action and beta-agonists for growth promotion in stock farming. Some substances can be used for authorised therapeutic purposes only, but these must be administered only by a veterinarian, who must record details of the treatment in a register / record book.
SMR6:Pig identification and registration – Identifying your animals and keeping accurate records helps the movements of pigs to be traced. In the event of a disease outbreak it is important that we know where animals have moved from and to.
SMR7:Cattle identification and registration – Keepers must identify their cattle, including bison and buffalo. They must keep accurate records about their animals and notify cattle births, movements and deaths.
SMR8: Sheep and goat identification – You must identify your animals and keep accurate records to allow movements of sheep and goats to be traced. In the event of a disease outbreak, it’s important that we know where animals have moved from and to.
SMR9:Prevention and control of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) – You must identify your animals and keep accurate records to allow movements of sheep and goats to be traced. In the event of a disease outbreak, it’s important that we know where animals have moved from and to.
SMR10:Plant Protection Products (PPPs) – You must follow strict controls over the use of pesticides as they can harm people, wildlife and the environment.
SMR11:Welfare of calves – You must protect the welfare of calves (bovine animals up to six months old) by meeting minimum standards for their care and husbandry. You must also meet the rules for the welfare of farmed animals in SMR13.
SMR12:Welfare of pigs – You must protect the welfare of pigs by meeting minimum standards for their care and husbandry.
SMR13:Animal welfare – You must protect the welfare of farmed animals by setting minimum standards for their care and husbandry.

Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs)

GAEC1:  Establishment of buffer strips along watercourses – You must protect watercourses against pollution and run-off from agricultural sources by maintaining buffer strips. ‘Watercourses’ are all surface waters, including coastal water, estuaries, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, canals and field ditches. It includes temporarily dry watercourses.
GAEC2: Water abstraction – You must have a licence from the Environment Agency (EA) to take (abstract) more than 20 cubic metres (4,400 gallons) of water, from an inland or underground source for irrigation, in a single day.
GAEC3: Groundwater – You must have a permit from the Environment Agency (EA) before you release (discharge) any substance that may harm or pollute groundwater, unless that discharge is an activity that is exempt. ‘Groundwater’ means all water below the surface of the ground in the saturation zone, that is, below the water table, and in direct contact with the ground or subsoil.
GAEC4: Minimum soil cover – You must have a minimum soil cover. You must take all reasonable steps to protect the soil by having a minimum soil cover unless there is an agronomic justification for not doing so, or where establishing a cover would conflict with requirements under GAEC 5.
GAEC5:Minimum land management reflecting site specific conditions to limit erosion – You must have minimum land management which reflects site specific conditions in order to limit erosion.
GAEC6:Maintenance of soil organic matter level through appropriate practices, including a ban on burning arable stubble, except for plant health reasons – You must maintain your soil organic matter through appropriate practices.
GAEC7a:Boundaries – You must protect boundary features, such as hedgerows, stone walls, earth banks and stone banks because they’re important landscape features.
GAEC7b:Public Rights of Way – Public rights of way (public footpaths, bridleways, restricted byways and byways open to all traffic) must be kept open and accessible because they are important landscape features.
GAEC7c:Trees – You may need to get a licence from the Forestry Commission if you want to cut down (fell) a tree. You must check if a tree has a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and meet any conditions of the TPO. You must also follow the rules about when you can trim or cut trees.
GAEC7d:Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) – You must not damage or destroy SSSIs. SSSI status is placed on land which, following a legal process, is judged to have special flora, fauna, or geological or physiographical features.
GAEC7e:Ancient Monuments – Ancient Monuments are nationally important sites that have been given legal protection by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport due to their archaeological or historic interest.

 View / download the full guide to cross compliance in England 2023 here

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