Environmental agencies call for drones to catch farmers red-handed

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A Government report on soil overflow will suggest a squadron of drones is used to combat the environmental issue, it is being predicted.

The BBC reported that a coalition of campaigners, including Angling Trust, WWF and the Rivers Trust with support from the RSPB is claiming that the Environment Agency can only check soil on 0.5% of farms each year.

The campaigners’ report says drones would be able to identify bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods, according to Defra.

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The group of campaigners has stated that soil running off farms is the “chief cause of the UK’s decline in the health of rivers, and a major contributor to flooding” and that the investment in drones to combat the issue would be quickly negated by their power to prevent soil loss.

A trial drone surveillance scheme in Herefordshire, which is focusing on maize, is reported to have successfully prevented soil loss.

Under the trial, the Environment Agency shifted its local budget towards drones and offset the cost of drones by handing their farm advisory role locally to the Wye and Usk Foundation.

Simon Evans, a spokesman for the foundation, told BBC News: “When we started to tackle this problem in 2000 we had lost spawning salmon along the whole length of the English Wye.

“Working with the Agency hasn’t only improved soil – it’s also benefited fish, because we’ve now got 65 miles of the Wye with salmon spawning successfully.”

Tags : Commercial dronesdronesEnvironment Agencyprecision agriculture Soil
Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder

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