Know How / Compliance

Farmers have to comply with an ever-changing array of financial, planning, environmental, animal welfare, safety and employment legislation.

This page will guide you through the maze of rules and regulations, highlight when new ones are being introduced and offer advice on how to avoid common pitfalls.

Key areas of focus:

  • Environmental permits and licenses
  • NVZs
  • Cross-compliance
  • Farm inspections
  • Cattle movement and transport

Practical advice

See all


Sales of land in support schemes: What farmers should know

Land that has been included in a farm business’s support scheme application or agreement is subject to specific rules that must be followed during the transaction process to avoid financial…


What Lion Training Passport scheme means for poultry staff

Until recently, it has been possible for farms to diversify into free-range egg production as long as the required land area was available. This opportunity has seen a rapid growth…


4 pitfalls to avoid when upgrading poultry shed windows

Since 1 October 2020, all buildings that house poultry have had to fit windows to meet Red Tractor standards.  For many farmers, this means retrofitting units in order to comply.…


How to manage staff exposure to poultry dust

Respiratory disease is a major health risk for UK poultry farmworkers, with incidence of occupational asthma double the national average. Staff are exposed to many different airborne particles that are…


How to protect your farm from fire risk and stay legal

Farm fires can be deadly and have devastating consequences for your business. Farmers are required by law to conduct a fire risk assessment to help protect all aspects of their…


Environmental pig permits: Everything you need to comply

Pig farmers must comply with new requirements for environmental permits from 21 February, with key changes relating to slurry store coverage and ammonia emissions reporting. With an increasing number of…


5 most common cross-compliance errors and how to avoid them

Failure to report livestock movements correctly is the most common error made by farmers when it comes to meeting cross-compliance rules. Defra has recently published the results of all the…


Everything farmers need for 2021 cross-compliance inspection

Defra has issued a list of all the records that a Rural Payments Agency inspector will want to see if a farm is picked for a cross-compliance inspection. The idea…


How farmers can stay legal when flying a drone

Drones have become an increasingly common sight over farmland in recent years, with many farmers using their own equipment to do anything from taking aerial pictures and videos to detailed…


How to avoid pitfalls in Countryside Stewardship applications

Attention to detail and thorough background reading will reduce errors and oversights on Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme applications. Common pitfalls can cause payment delays or even rejections, particularly where capital…


Cross-compliance key dates for UK regions 2021

Agriculture and environment departments across the devolved administrations have released key dates to help farmers avoid costly cross-compliance rule breaches in 2021. The rules apply to all Basic Payment Scheme…


Health risks at work - how to stick to the rules

Behind the headline agricultural accident figures, hundreds more employees are injured or suffer long-term ill health. In addition, fines, lost work hours, reduced earnings and bills to rectify problems amount…


See all


New assurance rules on crops for biofuel from 1 July

Arable farmers need to comply with new rules on growing crops for the biofuel market. From 1 July 2021, production standards set out in the EU Renewable Energy Directive (Red)…


Welsh farmers reveal crippling costs of new NVZ rules

The clash between farmers and the Welsh government over the new all-Wales nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ) is intensifying into one of the most bitter disputes ever waged in the Welsh…


How poultry assurance scheme can slash permit costs

Poultry farms with more than 40,000 bird places could save £940/year on Environment Agency (EA) charges by signing up to a new assurance scheme. Farms with units of this size…


Farming rules for water: What’s in store?

The farming rules for water regulations (2018) (FRfW) were introduced to create a national baseline for good farm practices. They require land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse…


How the new poultry standards proposals will affect farmers

Earlier this year, two consultations on farm assurance standards for the UK poultry sector came to a close. Red Tractor and Defra propose changes that will help keep standards up…


The rules for arable farming in an NVZ in England

Nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) account for about 55% of land in England, making it more likely than not that a farming enterprise is within a designated NVZ. So with NVZs…


Farmers split on Red Tractor standards proposals

Farmers are fairly evenly split in their approach to the Red Tractor consultation on standards – and the organisation in general – a recent Farmers Weekly poll suggests. Using our…


Red Tractor - the pros and cons of farm assurance schemes

Red Tractor – the UK’s largest farm assurance scheme – is currently consulting on the next iteration of its standards as it attempts to keep up with consumer expectations, legislation…


Q&A: How do organic farm inspections work under lockdown?

Organic farmers audited by Soil Association Certification will continue to be inspected remotely until at least the end of September. The organisation sets out tips and advice for farmers to…


Farmers plan nitrate trading system for Poole Harbour

In an innovative solution to protecting wildlife from agricultural nutrients in the Pool Harbour catchment area, farmers are working with the NFU and Wessex Water on a scheme to reduce…


Red Tractor Q&A: How are lockdown assessments working?

Lockdown has meant Red Tractor inspections have gone online. Farmers Weekly asked farmers for their queries about the process and put them to Red Tractor. How are the inspections taking…


Nematicide Red Tractor rules for farmers explained

Potato and sugar beet growers have to comply with the Best Practice Protocol for nematicides if they are part of the Red Tractor assurance scheme. The protocol, which applies to…