South West farmers’ fears over the potentially catastrophic cost consequences of ‘just-in-case’ environmental regulation ‘gold-plating’ on silage, slurry and fuel storage facilities will be discussed with the NFU presidential team, when they visit the region this week.

NFU president Peter Kendall and his deputy Meurig Raymond will both hear concerns over government proposals to remove exemptions for silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil (SSAFO) storage facilities built before 1991.

Farmers deem the proposals unnecessary and disproportionately costly, given the powers already held by bodies such as the Environment Agency to require improvements where there is any risk of pollution. The visit of the two NFU leaders, who are travelling to Cornwall and Devon respectively, will be an opportunity for farmers to underline their grave concerns about the proposed regulations.

The NFU wants to see any changes based on established risk rather than a ‘catch-all’ blanket approach which would involve many farmers in huge and unnecessary replacement cost.

Mr Kendall will be meeting farmers and growers across Cornwall tomorrow (Wednesday) when other issues up for discussion will include the ratcheting up of TB movement controls, food chain anomalies and the need for a grocery chain adjudicator.

Mr Raymond will be attending similar meetings across Devon on Thursday and Friday.