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Farming: Protecting our water, soil and air

Protecting our Water, Soil and Air: A Code of Good Agricultural Practice for farmers, growers and land managers (the ‘CoGAP’) consolidates and updates the former three separate codes for water, soil and air. 

The publication offers practical interpretation of legislation and provides good advice on best practice; ‘good agricultural practice’ means a practice that minimises the risk of causing pollution while protecting natural resources and allowing economic agriculture to continue.  It has been written by technical specialists from Defra and Natural England.

All farm staff and contractors on the farm who handle, store, use, spread or dispose of any substances that could pollute water, soil or air should be aware of their responsibilities and know about the causes and results of pollution. They should know how and when to operate and maintain the equipment they use, and know what to do in an emergency. 

The CoGAP provides an important point of reference, based around the main operations that farmers, growers and land managers might undertake; the advice covers activities carried out in the field, but also management plans, farm infrastructure and waste management. 

The CoGAP is available in hard copy, priced at £12.50 per copy, from The Stationery Office, PO Box 29, Norwich, NR3 1GN (ISBN 9780112432845).

A consultation on the draft of this code was launched in August 2007 in conjunction with consultations on the Nitrates Directive and diffuse sources of pollution. This consultation has now closed and a summary of consultation responses (PDF 157 KB), and the Government response to the consultation are available. The new CoGAP covers England only; Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland offer codes for their own territories.

Further information on the lapsed guidance for Defra Codes of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Air, Water and Soil can be found on the National Archives.

Page last modified: 11 October 2010
Page published: 1 July 2006