NFU Cymru welcomes Water Quality/Nutrient Management Project Manager

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NFU Cymru has appointed Lorna Davis to the position of Water Quality/Nutrient Management Project Manager.

The position is joint-funded with Natural Resources Wales and will see Lorna taking forward the work of the NRW Agri-Pollution Sub Group to develop farmer-led voluntary approaches to nutrient management.

Lorna has recently undertaken a scholarship through the Nuffield Farming Trust to research and explore the subject ‘How can the management of water in our changing climate provide multiple social, environmental and economic benefits to the UK agriculture industry?’ The report is aimed at providing an impartial review of how a balanced social, environmental and economic landscape can be created for the future through learning from the worldwide experiences gained through Lorna’s extensive travels.

Having been brought up on an upland farm in mid Wales, Lorna went on to study at Edinburgh University where she was awarded a degree in landscape architecture.

Lorna spent five years working within the environmental team at Halcrow (now CH2M Hill) giving her experience in a wide range of fields including brown field regeneration, flood defence, marine, and land-based habitat creation. During this time she developed a passion for water, specialising in water quality and surface water management.

She later moved to act as a consultant to Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, where she acted as lead landscape architect and design adviser for the ‘Rainscape Strategy’, which aimed to reduce DCWW’s environmental impact and improve water quality to meet Water Framework Directive targets in England and Wales. This role saw her working to promote sustainable solutions to the removal of surface water to sewers using sustainable drainage techniques.

NFU Cymru Director John Mercer said: “We are delighted to welcome Lorna to NFU Cymru to deliver this important piece of work. She brings a wealth of expertise and experience that I know will be a huge asset to this project and our organisation.

“Lorna’s appointment is evidence of the ambition within NFU Cymru, and indeed the Welsh agricultural industry, to provide workable, farmer-led solutions to the issues affecting water quality in Wales.”


Lorna Davis explains the aims and objectives of this important project work:

“The project aims to provide an opportunity for agriculture to become more involved in the management of water quality within our catchments by better understanding how agricultural pollution occurs and what we can do to eradicate it. Water is a vital resource within our landscape, supporting a wide range of natural ecosystems and providing benefits to both people and the economy across Wales.

“By developing a farmer-led approach to nutrient management, agriculture can deliver water quality improvements and reduce nutrient enrichment caused by nitrates, phosphorus and soil particles,

whilst identifying ways to maintain their existing environments and potentially enhance them to access opportunities such as paid ecosystem services and public goods in the future.

“Such an approach to nutrient management is highly innovative and experimental, however, it has the potential to support the delivery of positive change in farming to deliver improvements in water quality.

“The environmental impact of some agricultural practices is reducing. For example, the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers fell by 45% between 1990 and 2013 due to targeted applications on the needs of the growing crop. However, the frequency of agricultural pollution in Wales remains concerning, with all sectors contributing to at least 115 – 165 substantiated pollution incidents annually during the last eight years. Whilst this trend is not necessarily deteriorating, it is not getting any better either and farming’s track record is now subject to increasing scrutiny.

“My role is to gather and review evidence from existing approaches to nutrient management, farm assurance and other relevant schemes, as well as engaging with farmers to identify sources of pollution and ways in which they would like to deliver benefits to water quantity and quality on farm.

“I will also be developing guidance and advice on the existing water quality of Wales’ catchments and identifying ways in which operators can act responsibly and efficiently when dealing with nutrient management on farm. We hope that this project will also deliver a number of opportunities and benefits for farming businesses and the wider industry. These include: delivering business efficiencies; improved data collection; and the creation of a nationwide programme that reduces the risk of future failure.”

If you would like more information or would like to discuss the project in further detail, please email [email protected].

Last edited: 14:49 on 01 February 2019

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