Polytunnel Code of Practice

The Purpose of this Code

The purpose of this Code is to enable growers to demonstrate that they are responding to the concerns of members of the public by abiding by the requirements of the Code. In drawing up this Code experience has been drawn from the establishment of the Herefordshire Code of Practice and the Assured Produce generic crop protocol standards for 2004/05.

Terms of the Code of Practice

Siting and Operation

  • Polytunnels must not be sited within 30 metres of the boundary of the nearest residential dwelling unless as a result of prior agreement with the neighbour concerned. Polytunnels may be located closer to the residential dwellings if they do not obscure the views from the dwellings concerned and after consultation with the residents.
    All reasonably practicable steps must be taken to minimise noise when working close to neighbouring houses either in the early morning (before 7 am) or in the late evening (after 8 pm).
  • Steps should be taken to effectively manage run-off from polytunnels and where possible polytunnels should be sited to reduce the impact of run-off.
  • All reasonable steps must be taken, using tree or hedge planting to mitigate the visual impact of polytunnels, from the immediate view of neighbouring residential dwellings.
  • Where possible growers should consider less luminant types of polythene to reduce  effective glare.
  • Loose polythene should be secured to prevent noise nuisance, particularly when close to neighbouring dwellings.
  • Polytunnels should be rotated round the farm to minimise the impact, with a maximum period of three years in one location. Under exceptional circumstances, the demands of a particular crop (e.g. raspberries) may mean that polytunnels need to be located in the same site for longer than three years. in such circumstances care must be taken to minimise the impact by siting the polytunnels as far away from neighbouring dwellings as possible.
    The polythene covering over frames must be removed for a minimum period of 6 months in any calendar year.
  • Growers must store unused polythene away from public view.
    Where polytunnels are to be removed from a site, the grower must remove the polythene from the hoops within one month of the completion of cropping unless to do so would cause damage to the soil because of poor weather conditions.

Disposal of Waste Plastic

  • Waste polythene must be removed and be recycled in an approved manner.

Record Keeping

  • Records shall be kept of the following:
    • The type of crop and whether grown in the ground, in bags or off the ground;
    • The date when the framework and polythene cover are to be erected and the expected date of removal of the polythene cover (and frame if appropriate);
    • The area and the percentage of the total area of the farm covered by polytunnels.
  • Record of any notices given, including to any neighbouring residential dwellings, before work commences.

Special Requirements for Polytunnels Erected in Areas of National Landscape Designation and Other Statutory and Locally (Non-statutory) Designated Areas

In AONB and other designated areas, specific measures are necessary to ensure that the visual impact of polytunnels is minimised. To that end the following additional measures must be taken:

  • The preparation of a landscape impact map showing the areas of intended polytunnel operations and indicating what measures have been taken to minimise the impact of polytunnels on the local landscape.


British Summer Fruits is the UK body dedicated to the promotion of British-grown soft and stone fruit. We comprise of the leading soft fruit suppliers who represent the majority of British Growers. Together we account for over 98% of all fresh home-grown fruits to the UK's leading supermarkets.

British Summer Fruits members produce strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, damsons, gooseberries, red currants and black currants.

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