Applying Organic Materials Scheme To Demonstrate Duty Of Care

Contractors applying recycled organic materials to land are encouraged to take part in a scheme to ensure they minimise the risks to others.

The Spreading Organic Materials Assurance Scheme (SOMA) was launched by SAC Consulting – part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) – in late 2018.

It was aimed at providing a professional standard for contractors applying non-farm organic materials – such as wastepaper and biosolids – to land to demonstrate they could perform their role with the highest level of duty of care.

However, with regulations being tightened in recent years – including the introduction of the Farming Rules for Water in England and the deadlines for change set out in the Clean Air Strategy – it is becoming ever more important for individuals to gain accreditation.

As well as providing an excellent source of nutrients for farming businesses, the use of non-farm organic materials helps in the drive towards Net Zero by using products that might once have been classed as a waste. It also has financial benefits, allowing farmers to buy cheaper recycled materials instead of fertiliser.

SAC Consultant Neil Carter, who designed the scheme, said: “SOMA was created because regulations required operators to demonstrate ‘technical competence’ but there was no definition of what that meant. It provides the standard through which operators can prove that they have technical competence in their role.
“While it was originally set up in 2018, the increasing level of scrutiny at farm level means this scheme is now more important than ever.
“Changes to subsidy and the move to a scheme in England where farmers need to demonstrate public benefit in order to receive public funds, mean that an accredited standard, which shows that materials are being used properly with minimal risk to the environment, could well stand farmers in good stead.”

For more information about how to apply phone: 01539 769059 or email: [email protected].

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