Fears are growing that potential new designated Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) due to be unveiled next month across Wales will cause major industry concerns.
NFU Cymru is using today’s (Tuesday, August 16) Pembrokeshire Show to highlight the impact the proposals will have on farm businesses and the wider rural community.
In line with the EU Nitrates Directive, Member States are required to undertake a review to assess and designate areas as NVZs every four years.
The Welsh Government consultation is expected to put forward proposals for a number of new designations, including a significant area in Pembrokeshire.
“In light of the EU Referendum result, Welsh Government’s plans to go ahead with the consultation on new NVZ designations are a surprise to many farmers,” according to Pembrokeshire NFU county chairman, Walter Simon.
“We expect proposals to affect a significant number of farmers within the county, including an estimated 25 per cent of the Welsh dairy herd and 50 per cent of the total potato production in Wales.
“In our view the EU Nitrates Directive is an overly prescriptive and inflexible piece of legislation - reducing the scope for farmers to make decisions based on their own knowledge of their land and prevailing weather conditions.
“It also imposes high costs on agriculture and we will be using every opportunity to emphasise to policymakers the important contribution that farming makes to the vitality of rural areas.
“The number of rural businesses supported by farmers exhibiting at the Pembrokeshire Show bears testament to this,” added Mr Simon.
“Given the major impact and changes to farming practices that are required through the NVZ Action Programme, farmers will be rightly concerned.
“We are very much opposed to the proposed designations and in light of the EU referendum result believe there is an opportunity for the industry to work with the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales on the development of a voluntary approach that will deliver better outcomes for farming and the environment.”