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The Nitrate Sensitive Areas Regulations 1994

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Regulation 7(b)(ii)

SCHEDULE 4REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE PREMIUM ARABLE SCHEME

The requirements referred to in regulation 7(b)(ii) are—

(1) the farmer shall have ceased arable production and have established a grassland sward before 1st October following the acceptance of his application for aid under these Regulations;

(2) the farmer shall maintain as grassland for the duration of the undertakings—

(a)all permanent grassland on his land within the nitrate sensitive area,

(b)any arable land converted to grassland, excluding grass leys, since 31st December 1991, and

(c)the land converted in accordance with paragraph (1);

(3) the farmer shall comply with the following provisions in respect of the land converted in accordance with paragraph (1)—

(a)the farmer shall not cultivate the grassland except where he has obtained the Minister’s approval in writing and in accordance with such approval;

(b)the farmer shall use only a seeds mixture which does not include legumes;

(c)the farmer shall remove cut grass where there is a risk of damage to the sward;

(d)the farmer shall not damage, destroy or remove stockproof walls, hedges, field trees, hedgerow trees, lakes, ponds or streams or other watercourses on or bordering the land except with the previous consent in writing of the Minister;

(e)the farmer shall not damage, destroy or remove any traditional weatherproof farm buildings or features of historical or archaeological interest or value except with the previous consent in writing of the Minister;

(f)the farmer shall comply with the requirements specified in any one of the Options headed Options A, B, C and D set out below.

Option A—conversion of arable land to grassland, unfertilised and ungrazed

(i)The farmer shall not apply any nitrogen fertiliser to the grassland or land planted with grass seed;

(ii)the farmer shall cut the grass at least twice each year;

(iii)the farmer shall not allow the grass to be grazed.

Option B—conversion of arable land to species rich grassland, unfertilised and ungrazed

(i)The farmer shall not apply any nitrogen fertiliser to the grassland or land planted with grass seed,

(ii)the farmer shall not cut the grass during the period commencing on 1st April and ending on 15th July in any year;

(iii)the farmer shall cut the grass at least once during the period commencing on 16th July in any year and ending on 30th March in the following year, except during the said period in which the undertakings commence or where otherwise approved by the Minister;

(iv)the farmer shall not allow the grass to be grazed;

(v)the farmer shall use a seeds mixture containing native grasses approved by the Minister prior to sowing.

Option C—conversion of arable land to unfertilised grassland with grazing

(i)The farmer shall not apply any nitrogen fertiliser to the grassland or land planted with grass seed;

(ii)the farmer shall ensure that land is not grazed with livestock in such numbers as adversely to affect the growth, quality or species composition of vegetation on that land to a significant degree or in such numbers that the stocking level exceeds 1.4 livestock units per hectare;

(iii)the farmer shall not increase the number of livestock on the grassland above that which may be fed from the grass alone and shall not provide supplementary feed except for health or welfare reasons.

Option D—conversion of arable land to grassland with optional grazing and limited application of nitrogen fertiliser

(i)The farmer shall not in any period of 12 months apply nitrogen fertiliser in excess of the quantity which would result in the application to the land of 150 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare (assessed as total nitrogen); and shall not apply any nitrogen fertiliser between 15 August in any year and the following 1st February;

(ii)the farmer shall ensure that land is not grazed with livestock in such numbers as adversely to affect the growth, quality or species composition of vegetation on that land to a significant degree or in such numbers that the stocking level exceeds 1.4 livestock units per hectare;

(iii)the farmer shall not increase the number of livestock on the land above that which may be fed from the grass alone and shall not provide supplementary feed except for health or welfare reasons;

(iv)the farmer shall keep adequate records in a form approved by the Minister of the amount of all applications of nitrogen fertiliser; the dates when such fertiliser was applied; and the areas of the land to which application was made.

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