Booklet aims to reduce water pollution

Guidance issued to help potato growers reduce water and pesticide movement into waterways.

New advice on environmentally-friendly potato production could prove invaluable to growers looking to secure recently-launched grants to help reduce water pollution.

It is contained in a booklet entitled Environmental Guidance for Potato Production - a joint initiative between the Potato Council, the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group and the England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative.

Potato Council technical executive Chris Steele said: "The sector has diffuse water pollution risks, given its unique soil structural issues and the use of specific pesticides and nutrients."

The booklet's launch followed an announcement that at least £7.5m had been made available to farmers in 50 priority catchment areas across England to fund measures to reduce diffuse pollution into watercourses.

Growers can apply for up to £10,000 from the Catchment Sensitive Farming Capital Grants Scheme to fund improvements to reduce water and pesticides movement into streams and rivers.

Steele explained: "The grants are competitive, so farmers putting together the highest-quality applications will stand the best chance of being selected. The booklet will provide valuable advice."

POTATO PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENTAL GUIDE

- Environmental Guidance for Potato Production can be found at www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/farming/csf/default.aspx or from the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group, Potato Council and Catchment Sensitive Farming.

- To check whether land lies in a priority catchment area, see www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/landmanage/water/csf/grants/index.htm.

- The window for applications opened on 1 March and will close on 30 April.

- Packs can be downloaded from www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/landmanage/water/csf/grants/ capital-grants-scheme.htm or email catchmentsensitivefarming@naturalengland.org.uk or call 0300 060 1111.


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