by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
1998 (S.I. 1998/1202)
The Committee has requested in
its letter of 3 June a memorandum on the following points.
1. Regulation 8(1), which
makes the specified offences triable either way, that is, summarily
or on indictment, expresses the penalty (as regard summary conviction)
as a fine not exceeding "level 5 on the standard scale"
and (as regards conviction on indictment) as a fine "not
exceeding the statutory maximum". Ought not -
a. the maximum fine
on summary conviction to have been expressed in terms of the statutory
The Ministry acknowledges that,
for instruments made under the powers in section 2(2) of the European
Communities Act 1972, the creation of fines for offences which
are triable either way is governed by section 54(4) of the Criminal
Justice Act 1988 and that the maximum fine which may be authorised
is "the statutory maximum". It also acknowledges that
in relation to conviction on indictment the words the statutory
maximum should have been omitted. The Ministry undertakes to correct
the error at the first appropriate opportunity which, it is hoped,
will be later this year, when the Regulations which designate
the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones are amended.
b. the words (in relation
to conviction on indictment) "not exceeding the statutory
maximum" to have been omitted?
2. Paragraph 15 of the
Schedule to these Regulations (retention of record of events,
such as the use on the farm fields of fertilisers) provides that
"any record . . . shall be retained for a period of 5 years
after the latest event recorded therein".
Is it intended that the entry of each new event prolongs the period
of 5 years as regards earlier entries of events which, when the
new event is entered, come to be more than 5 years old?
The requirements in the Regulations
for an occupier of a farm to make and retain records for a period
of five years is to allow the enforcement authority (the Environment
Agency) both to identify specific events, such as a particular
application of fertiliser, as well as to develop an overall picture
of the nitrate management on the farm and any trends in nitrate
It is not intended that the requirement
to retain any record "for a period of 5 years after the latest
event recorded therein" should, after the entry of each new
event, prolong the period of five years as regards earlier entries.
This may, however, be the practical effect in some cases, for
example where the record is maintained in a ledger which spans
several years. However, in cases where the record is maintained
in such a way that earlier entries (those more than 5 years old)
can be deleted, they may be.
3. The Ministry is asked
to provide 25 copies of the farmer guidelines booklet or latest
draft of the booklet referred to in their voluntary memorandum.
If this booklet is not yet in draft, provide a statement of its
Enclosed, as requested, are 25
copies of the draft booklet "Guidelines for Farmers in NVZs".
This memorandum has been agreed
with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
and the Welsh Office.
8th June 1998