Major farm pollution controls for Wales coming in April

Posted by LindaStenner on February 9, 2021

Major farm pollution controls for Wales coming in April

February 09, 2021 at 11:39 AM

Tough new measures to reduce pollution and improve water quality in Wales will come into force in April affecting every farmer and every sector in Wales.

Rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths announced that a phasing in of an all-Wales NVZ would start as early as April giving farmers just a few weeks to meet the initial good practice requirements.

Considerable investment in infrastructure improvements will be necessary for some farms and the government announced it is making an additional £1.5 million available to help farmers improve water quality and £11.5m of capital funding will be used to directly support farm businesses to improve farm nutrient management infrastructure.

The money is available through the Sustainable Production Grant scheme which has already offered funding of £22 million to some 500 applicants.

Land agent Kathryn Williams of Davis Meade Property Consultants  is advising farmers to urgently check what improvements they need to make before the new rules come into force.

“Tenant farmers in particular should take advice before they make any investments as under section 11 Agricultural Holding Act (AHA) tenants can, in many circumstances, get landlords to pay for some or all of improvements required such as a larger slurry pit.

“Many tenants do not realise this, especially dairy farmers, and end up paying for it all themselves.

“If the work is reasonably required for the tenanted holding, not for other land that might be owned by the tenant, the tenant can apply to the Agricultural Land Tribunal (ALT) for an order for the work to be done by the landlord, if he refuses. Normally this ends up with a compromise of both paying something.”

The regulations establish baseline standards for production in Wales comparable to those in the rest of the UK and Europe and include the following requirements:

  • Nutrient management planning;
  • Sustainable fertiliser applications linked to the requirement of the crop;
  • Protection of water from pollution related to when, where and how fertilisers are spread;
  • Manure and silage storage standards.

The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021 will apply from April 1, 2021 for an initial set of measurements. The remainder will be phased in over three years.

The initial measures being phased in from April 1, 2021 include:

  • 14 days’ notice must be given to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) before construction begins on a new or improved slurry or silage store (this change applies from April 28).
  • Installations that were in use or built before March 1991 or where a contract for construction was entered into before March and completed before September 1991 are "exempt structures ". Old stores may be used, but the storage capacity requirements of these Regulations must still be met by August 1, 2024.
  • Prior to spreading nitrogen fertiliser a field inspection will be undertaken to identify risk of nitrogen getting into surface water. Nitrogen fertiliser must not be spread on land if there is a significant risk of nitrogen getting into surface water. Mandatory buffer zones will be established (as per existing cross compliance requirements).
  • Closed periods for spreading manufactured nitrogen fertiliser: on grassland, from September 15 to January 15; on tillage land, from September 1 to January 15. Organic manure applied to bare soil must be incorporated within 24 hours in most circumstances.

Farmers seeking advice on their particular circumstances can contact Kathryn through the Oswestry office of DMPC on 01691 659658 or mobile 07971583638 or email


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