Published at 21:37, Wednesday, 02 May 2012
PROPOSED changes by the Scottish government to ban farmers from applying slurry, fertilisers or solid manure on fields with a slope greater than 12 degrees have been criticised by Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP John Lamont.
He has asked the cabinet secretary for rural affairs, Richard Lochhead, about the impact of the proposed rules on Borders farmers.
He criticised Mr Lochhead for introducing the measure in a low-key manner and said the proposals would render many of the farms uneconomic.
He said: “I have been contacted by many farmers who are understandably concerned about having a huge area of their land being taken out of crop production. Products such as slurry, fertilisers and solid manures are vital for growing crops. These new rules would make it illegal to use them on certain land with a slope of just 12 degrees or more.
“The SNP like to portray themselves as friends of farmers yet these proposals would have a huge impact on the economic viability of many farms.
“It is particularly disappointing that they have tried to slip through these changes in such a low-key manner. The consultation period they have allowed is only four weeks long and takes place over the busiest time of year for famers.
“This is unacceptable. The SNP should not be burdening farmers with yet more red tape.
“The agricultural industry is vital to the Borders and we must do all we can to protect it. Mr Lochhead failed to provide any assurances and I will continue to push him to ensure that farms are protected from the damaging effects of these new rules.”
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