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Rural insurer offers new pollution clean-up policy

PUBLISHED: 09:32 05 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:20 06 July 2010

Michael Pollitt, agricultural editor

Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual has launched environmental liability insurance for farmers forced to clean up major pollution incidents.

It aims to fill a gap in traditional pollution insurance coverage and has been added to NFU Mutual farm business policies as part of public liability cover.

Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual has launched environmental liability insurance for farmers forced to clean up major pollution incidents.

It aims to fill a gap in traditional pollution insurance coverage and has been added to NFU Mutual farm business policies as part of public liability cover.

"We developed the new insurance in response to farmers' serious concerns about the possibility of being faced with huge bills to clean up a pollution incident on their land," said group chief executive Lindsay Sinclair.

While existing public liability insurance protects against a pollution claim being made by a third party, the new EU environmental liability directive could leave farmers with large bills for cleaning up pollution on their land or making good any bio-diversity damage.

"A typical scenario where the cover would help is a fuel spill from a farm diesel tank.

"These are often the result of thieves damaging valves and leaving oil running into the ground," he said.

The mutual's liability insurance covers pollution which is sudden, accidental or gradual if it is required by regulators.

This includes nearby rivers, the natural water table below the property or other surrounding land impacted by the pollution.

Costs and expenses including legal fees and investigation of any incident are also covered, subject to the policy indemnity limit of £1m.

The policy, which will cost a typical farmer about £10 a year more, will protect against the costs of cleaning up major fly-tipping incidents - such as asbestos or hazardous chemicals - on farms and estates, subject to an excess of £2,500 for National Farmers' Union members and £5,000 for others.

The NFU's regional office at Newmarket is urging farmers and landowners to report incidents of fly-tipping on their land to local councils or the Environment Agency.

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