The Wildlife Trusts are concerned to learn that regulation changes could see more manure being spread on our land due to a 3 month delay on a crucial piece of legislation.

The Wildlife Trusts said that ‘We already know that agriculture pollution is more significant in the pollution of our rivers than sewerage. The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021 seek to tackle the causes of water pollution from farming across Wales, from the spreading of slurry on farmland. The three-month delay announced on the 6th October 2022 is all part of steps to stop the regulation from coming into force.

This is worrying news for nature. This week Welsh Government rightly identified more needs to be done to address the nature crisis, but the pressure put on them means that more manure will threaten our rivers.’

Written Statement, Minister for Rural Affairs

A Judicial Review challenge to the regulations was dismissed in April 2022.  The Welsh Government have said that as a result, some farm businesses will have delayed taking investment decisions and making the necessary preparations.

In recognition of these circumstances and, in particular, the concerns about the 1 January 2023 implementation of the 170kg/ha annual holding nitrogen limit, the Welsh Government have announced through a written statement by the Minister the intention to provide an extension of the implementation of this measure to April 2023.

“The delayed measures to reduce the amount of slurry and manure allowed to be spread on farmland across Wales are vital to help stop the ongoing pollution of our rivers. Any delay will lead to further deterioration in the quality of our rivers. This will continue to have a devastating impact on wildlife,” said Tim Birch from Wildlife Trusts Wales.

How polluting is agriculture?

Farming and the water industry are the two biggest causes of surface water pollution incidents reported to Natural Resources Wales (NRW). The dairy sector is responsible for most agricultural pollution incidents.

The Welsh Government says diffuse pollution from agriculture is one of the main reasons Welsh waterbodies fail to achieve ‘good status’ under the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

NRW data from 2021 identifies agriculture as the most frequent cause of WFD failures, being linked to 21% of all failures to reach good status. The water industry is linked to 15%.

A useful briefing on this issue can be found here from Senedd Research.

The written statement from Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs can be read here.

The news release from Wildlife Trusts Wales can be found here.

No Comment

Comments are closed.