“We will continue to lobby the Welsh Government to improve the Agricultural Pollution Regulations and to deliver direct support to farmers to help them invest in infrastructure to increase and improve their slurry storage capacity,” says Fraser McAuley, Senior Policy Advisor, CLA Cymru. “Equally, as artificial fertiliser prices soar, the Government must work with farmers to enable responsible use of organic nutrients, as the current fertiliser cost-crisis adds urgency to make meaningful improvements to help Welsh farmers.
The regulations were introduced last year and are set to ramp-up to be in full-force in 2024. Fraser continues, “Just months before the long-term future of Welsh farming is outlined in the Agriculture (Wales) Bill, there’s vital need to focus on what lies immediately on the road ahead as we commit to our final destination. And just a year after the regulations were introduced, the importance of maintaining our essential capacity to produce sustainable food and reduce our reliance on overseas inputs has been a wake-up call for the whole community.”
“Wales must make progress in improving water quality – we must see early, positive results of the regulations - including in phosphate levels in our rivers, an issue which has caused a moratorium on responsible rural development in many areas.”
Fraser adds, “We’re continuing to work with the Welsh Government and other stakeholders in the Wales Land Management Sub-Group looking at alternative measures to the existing rules with a report to be published in September 2022. This may include more the more targeted approach, focusing on the more affected catchments that the CLA has been lobbying for.”
The Welsh Government needs to continue to work with the industry to provide advice and guidance to educate businesses about the regulations.