Farmers' union wins fight to defend growers

New pollution laws have added protection for growers thanks to the NFU

Years of negotiation between interested parties means the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers has finally adopted the European Environmental Liability Directive. Now, growers who have a defence to apparent law breaking will not be penalised. The directive lays down the exact nature of liability for pollution and other forms of environmental damage to water, land and biodiversity. It aims to ensure that damage is prevented but there is a framework for ensuring that those responsible must use the “polluter pays” principle to remedy matters. NFU deputy president Peter Kendall said the law had been caught up in EU negotiations for some years. “NFU’s lobbying has achieved a limit to the scope of the directive’s impact. “We believe farmers and growers who act within the law should not be penalised. The NFU has ensured that where someone offers a legal defence, they should have protection under the directive.” He said the union had some success over the financial liability of companies and individuals. “The directive originally asked for obligatory financial securities, perhaps insurance cover, for liabilities, but the NFU argued against a compulsory approach. This area of European legislation will impact on most farming and horticultural businesses. We hope the lobbying at EU level will not put farmers and growers at a disadvantage.”

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