NFU Cymru has opposed Welsh Government proposals for new controls on the storage of oil which will require all non-domestic storage containers with a capacity of more than 200 litres to have a secondary containment system.
In its response to a public consultation, the union highlights that farmers in Wales are already regulated on the storage of oil and agricultural fuels through the SSAFO regulations.
“We have long argued that measures to improve water quality must be based on robust evidence,” according to Bernard Llewellyn, the union’s rural affairs board chairman.
“In the case of oil-related pollution incidents, the data shows that there has been a downward trend of over 41 per cent in the 10-year period to 2014 and no sector specific evidence has been provided to make the case for additional regulation on the farming industry.
“We are disappointed that the Welsh Government has not adequately recognised the regulatory controls and inspections that farmers in Wales are already subject to.
“We do not agree either with the assumption that the new regulations will place no additional burden or cost on farmers.
“This is simply not the case and a survey of members has revealed that almost 43 per cent of oil storage facilities were installed pre 1991, with 46 per cent of respondents indicating that they had two or more tanks on their farms.
“The survey also revealed that over half of respondents said their storage tanks were located more than 100 metres from the nearest watercourse,” added Mr Llewellyn.
“Farmers in Wales operate in an extremely complex regulatory framework and we see no benefit to adding to this complexity with additional regulation, particularly when this is not backed up by the evidence.”