Automatic derogation for supplementary feeding

Natural England is reminding farmers that it is continuing to make Environmental Stewardship scheme derogations available to help England's farmers cope with the recent heavy snowfall and continued wet ground conditions.

Natural England is temporarily lifting some of the land management requirements that normally apply to Environmental Stewardship (ES) agreements, so that farmers and growers have more flexibility to deal with the impact of the recent extreme and unseasonable weather.

Natural England has confirmed that, following the recent heavy snowfall in many areas, livestock farmers who will need to provide their livestock with additional feed can continue to be covered by an Environmental Stewardship derogation.  This is a temporary relaxation for the remainder of March and through into April, to support farmers through this spring’s continuing cold snap and deep snow cover.  Under these circumstances, it will not ne necessary to contact Natural England for consent before carrying out supplementary feeding.  The derogation covers agreement holders who may have an agreement that would otherwise include restrictions on carrying out supplementary feeding on Stewardship land.

Wet ground conditions as a result of rain and snow melt also continue to present problems at the moment.  In the parts of England where wet ground conditions will make it necessary to delay carrying out specific Environmental Stewardship options, agreement holders should contact Natural England as soon as possible for advice about a derogation.

Geoff Sansome, Natural England’s Director for Land Management, said: “Farmers continue to face extremely severe conditions on their land this winter as a result of the recent appalling weather so far this spring.  Natural England’s land management advisers continue to provide help and advice wherever they can to support the farming community and we will ensure that appropriate derogations are available to support farmers at this critical time in the farming calendar.”

Farmers and land managers with Environmental Stewardship agreements can get derogation advice online, by calling Natural England on 0300 060 0011, or from their local Natural England adviser.