THE Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) has written to the Minister for Farming, Fisheries and Food, Victoria Prentis MP, setting out its concerns about a controversy over rules for farm muckspreading.

The letter relates to an evidence session of the Committee on the same topic held on Tuesday, January 11.

Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border and Member of the EFRA Committee said:“Our EFRA Select Committee has written urgently to the Farming Minister urging Government to work with rural stakeholders so that the controversy surrounding the interpretation of farm muck spreading guidance can be ended quickly, and that farmers can plan ahead to manage their land practically and without any unnecessary worry.”

The Chair of the Committee, Neil Parish MP, said after the evidence session: “Farmers have been rightly concerned at mixed messages they have received from the Environment Agency about soil husbandry - and when and how they can spread organic fertiliser.

“But today’s informative and constructive session made it clear that all parties are committed to finding a solution which makes the most of good organic matter while reducing pollution.

“I was pleased that the Environment Agency and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committed during the session to publishing new and very clear guidance on this issue for our farmers by early Spring".

When and how to spread manure on fields has become a controversial issue.