Welsh Government have delayed the introduction of new regulations on slurry spreading due to come into force in January 2020. Slurry is a major cause of poor water quality in the Dee. Outdated farm infrastructure, broken clean and dirty water separation systems and inadequate storage can leave farmers with no option but to spread during wet weather.
The new regulations would have banned spreading in the winter and put a minimum requirement on storage. This would provide a significant requirement for dairy farms to invest in better infrastructure. Welsh Dee Trust will continue to work with farms providing funding and advice to help improve the situation, but strong clear and enforced regulations are required to establish a legal minimum requirement and push those farms who are avoiding making the necessary investments.
The Welsh Dee Trust works with farmers to improve the infrastructure on farms as part of our Water Wise Farming programme. We work with farms confidentially providing advice and funding towards interventions which reduce pollution. The Welsh Dee Trust has worked with nearly 100 farmers through the catchment and has helped reduce or eliminate 20 sources of pollution into the river. Through our experience, we are very aware of the need for a large investment in farm infrastructure, especially in the dairy industry. The question is without a minimum and enforced regulatory requirement what catalyst is there for farmers to invest large sums of money in reducing pollution.