Recycling assurance scheme

A professional standards scheme for operators applying recycled organic materials, such as waste paper and bio-solids, will play an increasingly important role for both contractors and farmers as regulations tighten and greater scrutiny is applied to the sector.

That was the claim made by SAC Consulting which developed the Spreading Organic Materials Assurance Scheme (SOMA) in late 2018, setting it up as a professional assurance scheme for contractors applying non-farm organic materials - allowing them to demonstrate compliance with the highest level of duty of care.

But the college said that with the tightening of regulations in recent years it was becoming ever more important for individuals to gain accreditation to allow land managers using their services to show due diligence had been exercised.

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SAC consultant Neil Carter, who designed SOMA, said that the use of non-farm organic materials not only provided a good cource source of nutrients for farming businesses, but also helped in the drive towards Net Zero by using products that might once have been classed as a waste.

He said it also helped growers cut their fertiliser bills while ensuring standards were maintained:

“SOMA...provides the standard through which operators can prove that they have technical competence in their role,” said Carter.

He added that changes to support and the move towards schemes where farmers needed to demonstrate public benefit in order to receive public funds, meant that an accredited standard which showed that materials were being used properly with minimal risk to the environment, would stand farmers in good stead.

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