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SEPA Waives Sheep Dip Charges

14th October 2008

Farmers disposing of spent sheep dip will save money this year, after the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) waived the second instalment of its annual groundwater licence charge.

The move is one of the first tangible benefits to emerge from Scotland's Environmental and Rural Services (SEARS), a new partnership between the Scottish Government and agencies such as SEPA.

SEPA would have been issuing invoices this month for the 90.90 second instalment of this year's charge. However, involvement in SEARS has allowed SEPA to train staff from the Scottish Government's Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (RPID) to carry out routine inspections on its behalf.

RPID staff now include the SEPA inspections in their normal farm visits, checking that disposal of the sheep dip chemicals isn't polluting valuable underground water resources. The inspection reports are passed to SEPA so that registers can be kept and the environmental impacts can be monitored. SEPA is still responsible for any follow up action that might be identified, and still provides more detailed advice to farmers if required.

SEPA's CEO Campbell Gemmell said: "This is a positive development made possible
by government agencies working more closely as part of the SEARS programme. The
RPID inspections have allowed us to waive the second instalment of this year's charges for spent sheep dip disposal, and have reduced the number of inspections farmers have to deal with.

"It's still early days for SEARS so we need to review the longer term implications before we can make any permanent changes to our charging schemes. However, I am very pleased, particularly at this time of economic uncertainty, that we are able to waive the second instalment this year, giving savings for a significant number* of sheep farmers in Scotland."

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said: "This is an early win for SEARS and I am glad to see it already delivering real economic benefits to farmers. The Scottish Government is committed to reducing red tape and duplication of effort within the public sector so that the people of Scotland get a more streamlined, efficient and customer-focused service.

"I look forward to seeing more examples of SEARS in action in the months and
years ahead."


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