Welsh Farmers need support to manage natural challenges and invest in nutrient control

It has been reported that Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has appointed a new team to inspect around 800 farms in 2024, to help reduce the impact of agricultural pollution. CLA Cymru responds.
nutrient spreading

Responding to the news that Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has appointed a new team to inspect around 800 farms in 2024 to help reduce the impact of agricultural pollution, CLA Cymru has called for a greater understanding of the challenges faced by - and more support for - Welsh farmers.

The call comes as the final Consultation is taking place for the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS), and as current weather conditions make excess nutrient management a real challenge for many Welsh farms.

“Farm inspectors must be sensitive to the natural challenges faced by farmers of working in the external natural environment, where seasonal conditions in weather, topography, grazing-land and livestock management can play a part in the management of excess nutrients,” says Fraser McAuley, Senior Policy Advisor, CLA Cymru.

“Farms must dress grazing-land and soil for crops to sustain productivity and maintain the health of livestock. Good farmers themselves are eager to maintain the quality of their land, minimise run-off and flooding. However, natural conditions can make this very challenging.”

“Equally, the Welsh Government and NRW must be aware that an unintended consequence of excessive regulation in Welsh agriculture can only open the supermarket shelves for lower-cost farm produce from countries where standards are lower. We call on the Welsh Government to do more to help farmers contain and control excess nutrients.”

CLA opposed the Agriculture Pollution Regulations (APR) which came into force in the spring of 2021, on the basis that a blanket strategy is unnecessary. Better results can be achieved by a more targeted strategy and because Welsh agriculture’s competitiveness should not be compromised. The CLA formed part of a Wales Land Management Task Group which proposed a series of alternative measures which were rejected by the Welsh Government.