The Welsh Dee Trust welcome the introduction of the new Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) Regulations 2021. We work closely with farmers throughout the Dee, providing both financial support and specialist confidential advice to help them eliminate sources of pollution. However, we regularly come across pollution resulting from bad practice, particularly around when and where organic manures are spread. We hope that the new regulatory approach will tackle this problem effectively.
The latest State of Natural Resources Report 2020 published by Natural Resources Wales reveals that 66% of water bodies are failing to achieve Good Ecological Status under the Water Framework Directive, the majority of freshwater Special Areas of Conservation features are in an unfavourable condition and continued widespread agricultural diffuse pollution has resulted in elevated harmful levels of nutrients in the Dee and its tributaries.
The measures outlined in the new Agricultural Pollution Regulations are both necessary and needed now if we are to prevent further damage to our rivers and their biodiversity and to avoid detrimental impacts on our rural communities, tourist economy, and the many other users of our water environment.
We understand that the new regulations will place additional paperwork and financial burden on many farms. We are therefore glad to see that the regulations include transitional periods for certain elements to allow farmers to adapt, as well as the opportunity for the agricultural industry to provide an alternative suite of measures that will help to negate the worst impacts while still working to eliminate agricultural pollution.
Our rivers are a vital resource upon which all life depends.