The Environment Agency (EA) has increased inspections of on-farm abstraction activities.
This step-up in enforcement activity comes at a time when the EA is answering NFU calls to offer short-term licensing flexibility to farmers and growers in the coming weeks.
The EA has said that no “blanket exemptions” will be available for farmers and added that “under no circumstances can abstractors operate outside the terms of their existing abstraction licences without prior approval”.
According to the group unless prior consent is obtained for temporarily operating outside of the terms of the abstraction licence, farmers risk the ultimate sanction of criminal prosecution.
A statement on the NFU website said: “EA inspectors are able to use powers of entry and search where they suspect that an offence has been committed, or have reasonable grounds for suspecting the commission of an offence.”