A broad coalition of organisations across farming and the supply chain who have an interest in a thriving and sustainable food and farming industry in Wales wrote to the Minister. All agreed that farming’s role in improving water quality must be central to that vision. Whilst the evidence shows that agriculture is not the only factor affecting water quality in Wales, we are clear that farming has a key role to play in reducing its impact through addressing current levels of point source and diffuse pollution.
This project was funded by NFU Cymru and NRW with support on the project Steering board from Dwr Cymru, Welsh Government and Farmers’ Union of Wales. The project aimed to collate the industry's appetite to engage with water quality on farm through good nutrient management and the understanding of risk within their holding from diffuse and point source pollution. This culminated in the creation of the Water Standard document.
Information obtained by NFU Cymru from NRW added to the union’s growing concerns that a decision on Welsh Government’s all-Wales Nitrate Vulnerable Zone proposals was being taken without a comprehensive understanding of costs and impacts. In response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for information on the advice and evidence provided by NRW to Welsh Government relating to regulatory proposals, NRW supplied its comments on the adequacy of the draft Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA); also making a number of points in relation to reputational risks to NRW and Welsh Government should a whole territory NVZ approach be taken forward.
NFU Cymru continued to stress that any decision by Welsh Government on future water quality regulations must be made based on the available evidence, science and a robust impact assessment.
NFU Cymru called upon Welsh Government to make publicly available key information relating to the proposed introduction of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) across the whole of Wales in 2020.
NFU Cymru’s Rural Affairs Board criticised Welsh Government on its plans and approach to introducing an all-Wales Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) in Wales
Information obtained by NFU Cymru under an official information request highlighted significant deficiencies in Welsh Government’s preparations for the proposed introduction of all Wales Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ).
This briefing provided an update for members following the Welsh Government Written Statement.
NFU Cymru submitted available evidence to the Minister which included analysis of a broad range of environment, economic, social and cultural factors.
NFU Cymru held a dedicated seminar at the Royal Welsh Show to discuss water quality and the voluntary farmer-led approach to nutrient management
The initiative, the first of its kind in Wales, was led by Water Quality/Nutrient Management Project Manager Lorna Davis and overseen by two key stakeholder groups; the project steering board and the water quality task and finish group.
Following the release of the details of the new regulations by Welsh Government and subsequent meetings with the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, NFU Cymru’s lawyers, working with legal panel firm JCP Solicitors and Counsel, raised with Welsh Government their concerns about the lawfulness of the proposed approach. Alongside NFU Cymru’s legal arguments, the Union flagged other worries about the new proposals.
The position was joint-funded with Natural Resources Wales and focussed on taking forward the work of the NRW Agri-Pollution Sub Group to develop farmer-led voluntary approaches to nutrient management. Lorna’s appointment was 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.
The Minister outlined her intention to introduce regulations to tackle agricultural pollution that will apply across the whole of Wales. The regulations were set to come into force in January 2020, with transitional periods for some elements to allow farmers time to adapt and ensure compliance. The regulations will include the following measures:
‘Farmers and fishermen have a shared interest in the condition of our water courses and are committed to working together to maintain and enhance water quality in Wales’. That was the message from NFU Cymru and the Carmarthenshire Fishermen’s Federation at a special farm walk held on-farm in Cwmifor, Llandeilo.
The role of Welsh agriculture in maintaining and enhancing water quality in Wales was set out by NFU Cymru in their paper entitled ‘A vision for improved water quality in Wales’. The paper, shared with Welsh Government and NRW, identified the immediate opportunities to support the sector to make water quality improvements through a series of twenty recommendations around the themes of advice and guidance; improved investment support; as well as facilitating the uptake of technology and innovative approaches.
In this statement the Minster stated that she was minded to introduce a whole Wales approach to tackling nitrate pollution from agriculture.
NFU Cymru urged Welsh Government to consider a ‘workable alternative’ to reducing nitrates from agriculture to prevent further extension of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) in Wales.
The new option put forward by NFU Cymru was designed by farmers and builds on an off-set scheme that has been operating successfully by a group of First Milk dairy farmers in the Cleddau Catchment in Pembrokeshire.
NFU Cymru responds to the Welsh Governments Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in Wales consultation.
NFU Cymru held a briefing event with Assembly Members to reveal the results of a survey showing members’ strong opposition to Welsh Government’s NVZ proposals.
NFU Cymru joined forces with a Pembrokeshire campaigner to canvas views on the Welsh Government’s NVZ proposals. The survey collated views and helped further understand the impact across the agricultural sector of the proposals put forward as part of Welsh Government’s consultation on the Nitrate Directive in Wales.