Defra ‘The Government’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and improving the environment is delivered through a range of tools, initiatives and best practice. These aim to protect and improve the water environment and support competitive agriculture. We need a combination of different actions to tackle agricultural diffuse pollution of water effectively.  Some action will happen as a result of advice and incentives such as through the new Countryside Stewardship scheme, or through industry-led or water company action. Other actions will result from regulation or through innovation. This consultation is of direct interest to farmers, farm advisers and contractors, and is of interest to environmental organisations and water and sewerage companies. We are seeking your views on the introduction of a small number of new basic rules for farmers through legislation which will improve the efficiency of farms and help to reduce water pollution from agriculture, with a focus on phosphorus. These rules are intended to be clear and simple, and will be supported by advice.  They would not be part of cross-compliance.

We welcome your views on these proposals.   As well as considering which basic rules should apply, we would also welcome comments on how to implement them.

This consultation will help us to develop the best way forward and will inform the decision by Government. If the proposals are taken forward our aim would be to introduce legislation during 2016/17.’

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