Plaid Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to put on hold its plans to introduce new water regulations until the coronavirus epidemic is under control.
The party’s Shadow Rural Affairs Minister, Llyr Gruffydd, said farmers are already under enormous pressure due to the spread of the virus and ploughing ahead with the plans would be seen as ‘callous and cynical’.
The controversial rules were due to be introduced in January, but have been delayed.
Earlier this year, a Freedom of Information request lodged by NFU Cymru to release the advice received by Ministers and officials from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) was rejected, rousing suspicion that the Welsh Government was intending to press ahead with its plans against the advice of the regulator.
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths also voiced concern about the introduction of closed periods for slurry spreading late last year, saying she had asked officials to ‘look very carefully’ at why they were needed.
In a new letter to Ms Griffiths, Mr Gruffydd said: “The developing situation will bring huge challenges to the agriculture sector, not least as it coincides with the busiest and most stressful time of year for many, with the lambing season underway.
“I cannot imagine the Government would wish to focus on anything other than dealing with the unprecedented challenge of coronavirus at the moment.
“I therefore ask you to confirm your proposals to introduce new water regulations will be paused for the time being.”