Welsh Government Written Statement: Cooperation Agreement: Agricultural Pollution

The Welsh Government has announced a package of measures supporting farmers' compliance with the regulations. We summarise and comment.
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The Welsh Government has announced a package of measures relating to The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021 – the Wales-wide pollution regulations on 6th October. You can read the Statement here.

We welcome measures which mitigate the impact of the Regulations on Welsh farm businesses as we are equally committed to engage with the Welsh Government to develop solutions to tackle the problems which may be contributed in part by agricultural pollution – and which may release many affected areas from restrictions in land-use or responsible development. CLA Cymru has been part of a sub-group which has proposed a set of alternative measures to the Minister for Rural Affairs. You can read these here.

The key measures in the above statement, directly affecting farmers, are:-

  • A delay on the limit on the total amount of nitrogen that can be used on a holding - from 250kg per hectare to 170kg per hectare - from 1st January 2023. The deadline for this measure has now been delayed until 1st April 2023. The Government has provided two reasons for this: first that the process of the Judicial Review into the regulations caused many operators to hold-back on relevant investment to meet the regulations, and secondly owing to the high cost-pressures being experienced by the sector at the moment.
  • Alongside this, the Welsh Government have announced a consultation on a license farms could apply for to exempt them from this regulation subject to crop-need and legal considerations.
  • A further £20 million of funding has been announced to support businesses in complying with the regulations.
  • They have also committed to support the potential use of technology to help farmers to improve water quality, and to explore the use of excess manures in areas of nutrient deficiency.