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Carpy News
Angling Trust and WWF welcome new farming rules
for water but call for more resources to enforce them
The Angling Trust and WWF have
welcomed Defra’s announcement on
Thursday 30th November that it will
be introducing new rules in England
to reduce widespread and endemic
pollution from agriculture. However,
the organisations have questioned
whether enforcement agencies have
either the resources or political support to enforce the new rules and
whether they go far enough to tackle
the deep seated problems with land
and water management.
The rules will, with effect from 2nd
April 2018:
• promote good practice in managing fertilisers and manures;
• encourage land managers to take
reasonable precautions to prevent
diffuse pollution from runoff or soil
• require soil tests at least every five
Advice will be provided to farmers
to help them comply, but experience
shows that advice is much more likely
to be followed if it is backed up with
enforcement. Defra is currently writing the regulations to support these
rules to give them legal force. However, the Angling Trust does not
believe that the Environment Agency
and Rural Payments Agency currently
have the necessary resources or political support to enforce these new regulations rigorously, which puts the
objectives at serious risk.
Governments in England and Wales
have in recent years singled out farming for light touch regulation compared to other industries and they
have repeatedly cut budgets for
enforcement. As a result, there is
widespread non-compliance with
existing regulations throughout the
countryside, so there is little hope that
these new rules will be widely
observed without additional funding
and a change to guidance from Ministers.
The Angling Trust has written to
Welsh Ministers demanding that new
rules should also be introduced in
Wales to tackle the appalling pollution of Welsh rivers and to avoid tenant farmers in England renting
ground over the border to grow highrisk crops such as potatoes and maize
and avoid the new regulations, which
already occurs due to disparities in
the existing regulations.
The new rules also fail to remove
the exemption of slurry storage facilities built or significantly modified
before 1991 from the relevant regulations, which has discouraged many
farmers from upgrading them to provide greater capacity. This has led to
widespread spills and catastrophic
failures of slurry stores, and farmers
being forced to spread slurry at times
when the ground is too wet.
T h e A n g l i n g Tr u s t a n d W W F
responded to the consultation about
the new rules in 2015 and both organisations have been campaigning vigorously for several years for tougher
regulation of agriculture to control
pollution from soil, slurry, manure,
pesticides and fertilisers. This campaign has included two judicial
reviews of the government, several
meetings with Ministers and officials
and media campaigns including a
video by the Angling Trust that has
been viewed on Facebook nearly
100,000 times.
Diffuse rural pollution, as it is
known, is the second biggest reason
why 86% of waterbodies fail to meet
Good Ecological Status as defined by
the Water Framework Directive. The
agricultural sector is responsible for
the highest number of serious pollution incidents of any sector – more
than from sewage or industrial
sources. Lawyers at Fish Legal report
that they are dealing with record
numbers of civil cases on behalf of its
member angling clubs and fishery
owners for agricultural pollution of
lakes and rivers. Controlling agricultural pollution is one of the three priority actions of the Angling Trust’s
Save our Salmon campaign launched
in 2015, but it impacts severely on all
other fish species and the food on
which they rely.
Poor land management leads to
more expensive water bills, flooding
of homes and businesses, significant
carbon emissions, less nutritious food
and clean-up costs for local councils
and port authorities. Soil erosion also
threatens the very future of food production in this country. Many good
farmers support new rules because
they hate to see their neighbours
damaging the environment, heaping
costs onto the rest of the society and


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