Important Changes to 2018 Greening Guidance (Scotland)

10th September 2017

At the end of August the Scottish Government published new greening guidance for 2018. There are major changes, some good and some not so good.

Hedges

Hedges are to be included to EFA options. To be eligible the hedge must have a length of at least 20 metres or a length of less than 20 metres where it meets another hedge at each end. Any gap of less than 20 metres is treated as being part of the hedge. The hedge must be on or within five metres of arable land or contiguous to a claimed EFA option in such a way that the longest edge of the hedge is parallel to the field, it must be on your holding, or under your control/responsibility, on a claimed or adjacent to a claimed parcel, that is BPS eligible and claimed on your SAF and it can be any height but must be up to and including three metres wide from the centre of the hedge (hedges wider than three metres from the centre of the hedge are BPS and EFA ineligible). •if the hedge is a boundary between two fields half the hedge should be claimed against each field.

The inclusion of hedges is certainly a welcome addition to EFA options. Hedges have been an EFA option in England since 2015 and have proved to be popular.

 

Agro-forestry

Land which was arable in 2015, but has now been planted with trees under a Forestry Grant Scheme is eligible to be used as an EFA option.

 

Ban on Plant Protection Products (PPP)

There has been an outright ban of the use of PPP on all areas of EFA Nitrogen fixing crops from establishment until after harvest of the nitrogen fixing crop. There has also been a ban on using PPP on EFA fallow land between 15 January and 15 July with the exception of spot herbicide for injurious and invasive weeds. They have also banned the use of PPP on catch crops from the date of harvest of nurse crop to the 31 December, and green cover from establishment of the green cover to the 31 December.

 

Maintenance of drainage of EFA fallow

You are allowed to undertake maintenance of field drains in the period 15 January to 15 March, this is limited to investigation (inspection pits, etc.) and replacement of pipes or tiles where existing ‘bursts’ have been identified.

 

There are also some significant changes in England for 2018 which are as follows:

 

Addition of EFA Field Margins

Previously only buffer strips adjacent to water courses were eligible however this option has now been extended to include field margins. We are however waiting for further clarification from DEFRA on this.

 

Extended period for EFA Catch Crops

EFA Catch Crops will have to be established by 20th August 2018 and retained until at least 14th October 2018.

 

Mixtures of EFA Nitrogen-fixing Crops and Other Crops

Mixtures of nitrogen-fixing crops will be permitted as EFA, as well as mixtures of nitrogen-fixing crops grown with ‘other crops’ as long as the nitrogen-fixing crop is ‘predominant’.

 

Ban on Plant Protection Products (PPP)

PPPs may not be applied on any areas of fallow, catch/cover crops or nitrogen-fixing crops being used for EFA for BPS 2018. DEFRA is working on more detailed guidance on this ban, but it is unlikely that it will be published until this Autumn.

For further information, please contact Jessica Clark on 07912 895919 or jessicaclark@georgefwhite.co.uk

 

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