WHILE IT might be high time that farmers stopped burning their plastic waste, the decision to end the derogation which allowed them to do so is another example of the regulatory process which adds cost directly back to the farmer, with no recompense.

It is, therefore, incumbent on those enforcing this directive, ScotGov via SEPA, that they make the disposal of the many types of plastics used by the industry – with the main culprit being bale wrap – as easy as possible. A failure to do so will simply mean that some will resort to clandestine incineration or dumping.

The government's Zero Waste ambition – and we mustn't forget this originated as an EU directive that we will be enforcing when we are weeks away from leaving it – comes with added cost and there is plenty to do to point farmers in the right direction. For those in the more remote areas, where plastic has been a God-send for fodder conservation, then it is easy to see why they would regard shipping their old plastic to a centre in Dumfries could be viewed as adding to pollution levels, rather than detracting from them.

They may not be right in that assumption, but someone needs to tell them why they are wrong. As for some recompense, with the majority of consumers paying 10p per plastic shopping bag, then maybe this would be a good way of raising the funds for the likes of well-maintained and easily found disposal points around the country.

It seems easy enough to find cash to instal electric power points for a still yet low population of all-electric cars, so why not find some to properly dispose of farm and industrial waste? If that is not done, then the flipside is that there will be rampant fly-tipping by farmers, instead of them being the recipient of it – which is a whole other area of concern.

Let the 'net tighten on criminals

CYBERCRIME is not an area that you would expect farming to be overly bothered by, but not so it would seem.

From our front page story comes a major lesson for all and one which will only be exacerbated by a lack of rural banking facilities and a relentless move to online banking. Given that some quite large sums of money can change hands, even in modest farming operations at this time of year, then much more must be done to counter this.

So, the 'Tackling rural crime' initiative led by NFUS and other stakeholders could not have come at a better time. But, just as farmers need to be more vigilant, then the banking industry and the police need to be more proactive in tracking down those criminals who perpetrate it and the judiciary needs to keep pace with legislation to allow them to do so successfully and with a punitive outcome.