Industry Water Standard can address phosphates

19 July 2022

Political lobbying Water quality
The water standard

‘The Welsh agricultural industry’s Water Standard document provides the blueprint for farmer action on phosphates.’ 

That was the message from NFU Cymru President, Aled Jones, to the First Minister at the Phosphate Summit convened at the Royal Welsh Show yesterday (Monday 18th July).

The cross sectoral Phosphate Summit was aimed at discussing what can be done collectively and collaboratively within each sector to deliver improvements in failing Special Areas of Conservations (SAC) rivers in Wales. The meeting follows the publication by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) last year on levels of phosphates in Welsh SAC Rivers, which concluded a number of rivers, including the Wye, Usk and Cleddau, were failing new, more stringent phosphate targets. As a result of this work, NRW issued revised advice to planning authorities with developments screened to determine whether they are likely to have a significant effect on SAC rivers sensitive to phosphorus. 

No sector alone can solve this issues

During the meeting, NFU Cymru President Aled Jones presented the First Minister with a copy of the Water Standard document, developed by partners across the Welsh agricultural industry, to create a pan-Wales nutrient management approach accessible to all farmers in all sectors.

Speaking after the event, NFU Cymru President said: “The evidence is clear no one sector alone can solve this issue which is now having a significant impact on development in the affected areas. 

“As farmers we recognise the role we have to play and the Water Standard, a voluntary farmer led approach to nutrient management developed by NFU Cymru in partnership with NRW and industry organisations, provides a guide for the development of a voluntary, farmer-led nutrient management approach in Wales. 

“Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for healthy soils and productive agriculture.  As farmers we take our environmental responsibilities seriously and NFU Cymru is focussed on solutions that are evidence led and developed in partnership recognising it will take some time for the benefits to show.  In the context of the significant uncertainty the farming industry is currently facing, it will be vital to recognise the need for a strategic programme of investment to deliver the on the ground improvements we all want to see.”

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