The Scottish Government has to introduce a new GAEC measure to establish buffer strips along water courses on the 1st January 2012, as a result of the CAP Health Check. The options available to the Scottish Government ranged from introducing the minimum standards relating to land application of fertilisers near water courses as per the NVZ Action Programme, through to also including one or more elements of the General Binding Rules or any other appropriate measures.
After lobbying from Scottish Land & Estates, Scottish Government has decided to introduce the minimum requirements rather than gold plate the measures by introducing the General Binding Rules into GAEC. Scottish Land & Estates made the point that, while we recognise the scale of the diffuse pollution issue, increasing the threat of penalties on farmers is not the best way to solve the problem.
The new measure is still significant and Scottish Land & Estates will now work with Scottish Government and SEPA to ensure that appropriate information is disseminated on the requirements of the new measure.