Ongoing concerns over Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in Wales

Posted by LindaStenner on May 7, 2020

Ongoing concerns over Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in Wales

May 07, 2020 at 3:13 PM

Farmers and land managers in Wales are concerned over proposed new water quality regulations which could cause further hardship to farmers already suffering from the impact of Coronavirus.

The Welsh Government has published draft regulations for an all-Wales Nitrate Vulnerable Zone which could be introduced once the Covid-19 crisis comes to an end.

Davis Meade Property Consultants, consultants to the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW), have expressed their full support for the FUW’s view that the new regulations could push dairy farms over the edge as many are dealing with massive falls in the price they receive for their milk as well as delays to payments and other impacts caused by coronavirus.

Making the whole of Wales an NVZ will affect farmers in every sector, subjecting them to onerous record keeping, complex restrictions on the running of their businesses and additional costs.

The Welsh Government had been proposing to introduce an “All Wales” NVZ from January 1, 2020 and, whilst there has been a delay to implementation, WG have now published draft regulations on their website. Despite a detailed report recommending a package of measures to tackle agricultural pollution from the Wales Land Management Forum sub group in 2018, which would have provided farmers with the flexibility to achieve environmental outcomes in a way best suited to their business, WG have continued with their intention to  introduce an ‘All Wales’ NVZ.  

Responding to a Freedom of Information request for information about the advice and evidence on which WG based its proposals, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has released information on the draft Regulatory Impact Assessment which farming leaders have found deficient with questions around the proportionality of applying an All Wales NVZ approach on areas where nitrate concentrations are low.

It is also unclear whether NRW would have the capacity to deliver this scale of regulation across all farm businesses in Wales. Farming leaders have now written to WG seeking a further Regulatory Impact Assessment be undertaken before a final decision is made.

“Failure to comply with NVZ legislation will be a breach of cross compliance and could incur a fine so farmers should be aware of all new developments,” said Eifion Bibby of Davis Meade Property Consultants.

“Also there is significant concern as to the level of investment required to comply with the proposed regulations and the degree of funding that would be made available, including for new slurry storage facilities,“ he added.

For more information contact Eifion Bibby at the Colwyn Bay office of Davis Meade Property Consultants on 01492 510360, email




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