Position statement on water quality

 NFU Cymru President John Davies_77500

Statement 21 July 2021

NFU Cymru has received notification that the union’s application for permission to judicially review Welsh Government’s decision to introduce water quality regulations has been granted by the High Court.

Earlier this year, in light of ongoing concerns in relation to the new Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021, NFU Cymru set out its position that Welsh Government had acted unlawfully in failing to take into account all relevant information when undertaking its Regulatory Impact Assessment prior to the introduction of the regulations. The union also challenged Welsh Government’s failure to include in the regulations a derogation from the applicable nitrogen limit for farmers with 80% or more grassland.

NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “We are pleased to hear that the Court has accepted our application for permission for judicial review and that the issues we have raised amount to arguable grounds which merit consideration at a substantive hearing. Reaching this point is testament to the hard work and expertise of NFU Cymru staff, the union’s in-house legal team, our legal panel firm JCP, Counsel at Essex Court Chambers and the NFU’s Legal Assistance Scheme. NFU Cymru does not take this action lightly but has done so on behalf of NFU Cymru members, farmers and rural businesses across Wales.

“Work will now be undertaken in line with Court directions to prepare for the substantive hearing and we are not able to comment further on the case at this time.”


Statement on 20 April 2021

NFU Cymru has issued proceedings in the High Court for permission to challenge Welsh Government’s decision to introduce new water quality regulations across the whole of Wales which threaten the viability of Welsh farming businesses.

The new water quality regulations, which came into force across Wales on 1st April, pose a significant threat to the economic viability of Welsh farming, the overall impact of which cannot be underestimated. These regulations effectively make the whole of Wales an environmental ‘at risk’ zone, attracting heavy and disproportionate regulations which will punish the whole farming sector.

NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “In light of our on-going concerns in relation to the new regulations, we have set out our position that Welsh Government has acted unlawfully in failing to take into account all relevant information when undertaking its Regulatory Impact Assessment prior to the introduction of the regulations. We have also challenged Welsh Government’s failure to include in the regulations a derogation from the applicable nitrogen limit for farmers with 80% or more grassland – something which was available under the previous regulations for those in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. We are now waiting to hear whether the court will give us permission to proceed with this case, and therefore we are not able to comment further at this time.”

Further resources (members will be asked to log-in):

Welsh Government published information:

Our work on water quality so far (since 2016)


Last edited: 15:56 on 21 July 2021

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