News that a Welsh Government consultation on the review of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) in Wales will not be launched until after the Assembly elections in May has been welcomed by NFU Cymru.
In line with the nitrates directive, all EU Member States are required to undertake a review to assess and designate areas as NVZs every four years and the Welsh Government consultation is expected to put forward proposals for a number of new designations, including a significant one in Pembrokeshire.
“We expect proposals to affect a significant number of farmers in the county and an estimated 25 per cent of the Welsh dairy herd and 50 per cent of potato production in Wales,” says Walter Simon, Pembrokeshire NFU’s county chairman.
“Given such a major impact we have lobbied for the consultation on new designations to run at the same time as the consultation on the action programme of measures so farmers in affected areas can gain a better understanding of the costs and effects to their individual businesses.
“We have also highlighted the need to avoid consultation during the period leading up to the Assembly elections as this would clearly impair farmers’ ability to discuss the implications of the consultation with their elected representatives.
“We are pleased that this period is now to be avoided and there will be a full and comprehensive consultation process on this important piece of legislation,” added Mr Simon.
“We are very much opposed to the proposed designations and will be putting forward a firm and robust response to the consultation based on detailed scrutiny of the evidence base underpinning designation.
“The increased costs and regulatory burden on farm businesses and the wider rural economy will also be highlighted.”