The Inspection

Many of the Environment Agency (EA) / Natural Resources Wales (NRW) inspections that take place, are selected on a risk basis. The EA / NRW are continually testing and collating data on main watercourses that have a high or increasing level of nitrates and or phosphates.

Therefore, the EA / NRW may routinely visit all farms in a river’s catchment area and advise on ways to improve farming practices, or look for any potential pollution issues.

Inspections are typically paperwork and farmyard based.

Different EA / NRW officers will run the inspection differently according to which area they are from. Some target the farmyard more than the paperwork and vice versa.

Paperwork Inspection

Once on your farm, the EA / NRW officer will arrive and ask specific questions that will determine the following:

  • Farming practices
  • Details about the farm and business, particularly relating to SSAFO regulations
  • Schemes the business is part of

The documents they would expect to see from the farmer would be:

  • NVZ Records (if applicable)
    • NVZ Calculations
    • Slurry Storage Calculations
  • Risk Maps
  • Field Records
  • Soil Test results (no more than 5 years old)
Farmyard Inspection

As part of the inspection, the EA / NRW officer will also want to inspect your physical farmyard(s) to check all areas at risk of causing pollution. Most items checked will fall under the SSAFO (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil regulations). Usually, they know what they’re looking for prior to the inspection.

The areas the EA / NRW would check are:

  • Silage (pits and / or bales)
  • Manure storage
  • Slurry
  • Other manures if within the yard
  • Agricultural fuel storage
  • Oil storage
  • PPP storage
  • Dairy chemical storage

Depending on the purpose of the inspection, the EA / NRW may also want to see nearby watercourses to check for signs of contamination, or to look at fields with potential or known issues with soil erosion and run-off.

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