Agricultural pollution continues to affect rivers, streams and other waterbodies across the whole of Wales. This is detrimental to public health, the rural economy and biodiversity.
In November 2018, the Minister outlined her intention to introduce regulations on an All-Wales basis. Today, the Minister confirmed she will receive advice in January on the introduction of legislation after exploring alternative measures with the Wales Land Management Forum sub-group, which was established to focus on the issue of agricultural pollution.
A project exploring voluntary options, jointly funded by Natural Resources Wales and NFU Cymru, has been working to develop a draft water standard. This work includes incentivising actions to improve water quality by enabling farmers to demonstrate these actions to consumers, retailers and regulators.
Lesley Griffiths said:
In 2018 I announced my intention to introduce regulations to help us combat the agricultural pollution events that continue to occur far too often. Over a year later I remain absolutely convinced decisive action is required.
During this period, I have funded NRW dairy officers to provide advice to farmers on meeting regulations. I have also listened to the views of stakeholders on the benefits of regulation and the potential opportunity of using alternative measures.
I will be considering advice from officials in January on the introduction of the agriculture regulations following further engagement with the Wales Land Management Forum sub-group.
I want to explore further if there is a way we can provide farmers with the flexibility to achieve these essential environmental outcomes in a way that is best suited to individual businesses.
It is vital farmers urgently recognise the scale of the problem in Wales and use this opportunity to engage in developing alternative solutions.