Ally Hunter-Blair, a farmer from Ross has voiced his concerns after being falsely accused by the Environment Agency (EA) of breaching the Farming Rules for Water. The EA’s remote inspection, conducted on 22 November last year, claimed that two of Mr Hunter-Blair’s fields lacked the required vegetative cover. However, Mr Hunter-Blair firmly states that both fields were sown with winter wheat well before the 15 October deadline.

The EA’s accusations were based on satellite images, which they claim showed fields “lacking in vegetative cover”. Under the Farming Rules for Water, by 15 October each year, growers must establish green cover to stabilise soil post-harvest. Non-compliance can result in penalties.

Mr Hunter-Blair expressed his frustrations, saying, “Both fields were growing very nicely. I even have photos of them. The letter from the EA was quite aggressive.”

The EA stated they are experimenting with new technologies, including remote sensing and artificial intelligence, to enhance regulation enforcement. The images were taken by the Sentinal 2 satellite in November 2022.