The Welsh Government has opened a consultation on the four yearly review of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in Wales and given the financial implications for those who live in designated areas farmers are being encouraged to respond.
As stipulated in the EC Nitrates Directive, Defra, the Welsh Government, and Natural Resources Wales, have undertaken a review of the existing NVZ areas in Wales, and are assessing if any new areas need to be designated.
Farming unions have been involved in the review and made their concerns clear over the past months stressing that all farmers now need to make their voice heard through the consultation.
“We have been involved in the NVZ review and have made successful representations on several designations, which have resulted in their removal from the discrete areas option of the consultation,” said Farmers Union of Wales senior policy officer, Dr Hazel Wright.
“The number of proposed new designations remains a concern not least the operational and financial impacts those designations would have on farms within an NVZ area.
“Given such costs, there must be full justification for any proposed increases in designation.”
Two options outlined in the consultation include the continuation of the discrete approach to designation or the designation of the whole of Wales as an NVZ.
A continuation of the discrete approach would see an increase in the amount of NVZ designations in Wales rise from 2.4 per cent to 8 per cent.
That would mean significant changes to NVZ designation in counties such as Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Anglesey.
“The FUW remains resolutely against the option to apply the action programme throughout the whole of Wales as this would require all landowners to comply with the NVZ action programme measures,” added Dr Wright.
“There is a distinct lack of evidence for a whole territory approach and the difficulties and costs associated with regulatory compliance for farms whose land does not drain into nitrate polluted waters, makes this option both unwarranted and unreasonably excessive.
“There are a number of proposals put forward in this consultation which will seriously impact farmers in Wales and the FUW is therefore urging members to respond to this consultation through the union’s county office structure in order to ensure that farmers’ views are thoroughly represented.”
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