FL09June - Page 9

Shropshire farmer fined £16,000
for environmental offences
Edward Fair of Peatswood Farm in
Shropshire, pleaded guilty to one
charge relating to water abstraction
and nine charges relating nitrate pollution management.
On 16th April 2018, Telford Magistrates’ Court fined the 55-year-old
£16,000 and ordered him to pay
£20,000 in costs, along with a £170
victim surcharge. The charges were
brought by the Environment Agency
under the Nitrate Pollution Prevention
Regulations 2008 and Sections 24(1)
and (4) of the Water Resources Act
The Environment Agency discovered that between May 2015 and
April 2017, the Defendant had
abstracted on average over 20,000
litres of water per day from a borehole
on the farmland without an abstraction licence. Between October 2016
and April 2017, Mr. Fair was abstracting an average of 67,000 litres of
water per day, more than three times
the legal limit. This water was being
used in farming activities but was
also being supplied to eight nearby
tenanted properties. Evidence gathered by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council between December
2014 and May 2016 revealed that the
water supplied to these properties
was failing quality standards for
A formal notice was served on Mr.
Fair on 13th October 2015, requiring
him to notify the residents of the supplied properties advising them that
the water was not fit for consumption
due to high nitrate levels. The notice
was withdrawn in May 2016, as a
result of improvements made to the
supply infrastructure by Mr. Fair,
including installation of a chlorination
dosing pump.
Mr. Fair’s farm lies in an area designated a nitrate vulnerable zone. Farmers practising within these zones are
required to plan and record their
farming activities, including the
application of manures and fertilisers,
in a manner prescribed under the
Nitrate Pollution Prevention Regulations 2008. The purpose of these Regulations is to protect the environment
by reducing nitrate pollution.
In April 2015, the Environment
Agency carried out an inspection of
farming activities at Peatswood Farm.
Mr. Fair failed to produce records
showing that in 2014 he had carried
out the necessary planning and
recording of his farming activities
under the Nitrate Pollution Prevention
Regulations 2008. As a result of his
failure to comply with the regulations,
Mr Fair was reported to the Rural Payments Agency and received a 28%
reduction in his Single Farm Payment
for the year 2014. The Single Farm
Payment is a subsidy designed to
help farmers to meet their environmental, public, animal and plant
health standards.
In mitigation, Mr. Fair’s barrister
stated that Mr. Fair had no previous
convictions and was a man of previous good character. He admitted that
Mr. Fair had failed in his obligations
under the legislation but that he had
sought out new professional advice
and was working to improve his farming practices. Mr. Fair’s barrister
stated that the high nitrate levels in
drinking water had been caused in
part by his tenants removing nitrate
filters installed within the properties
because they caused a reduction in
water pressure. He further stated that
Mr. Fair had suffered family bereavements in 2015 and 2016. n
International recognition for fisheries scientists
Two fisheries scientists from the
Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust,
Stephen Gregory and Rasmus Lauridsen, have been invited to sit on the
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea’s (ICES) working
groups for salmon and trout. ICES is a
small and select international network of scientists who provide advice
to governments on the status and
management of fish stocks.
ICES hosts working groups for
many fish species, including the
Working Group for North Atlantic
Salmon (WGNAS) and the Working
Group for Trout (WGTrutta). Based at
the Salmon and Trout Research Centre at East Stoke, Dr Gregory will sit
on the group for salmon and Dr Lauridsen will sit on the group for trout.
“I’m delighted that my contributions have been recognised and to
join the WGNAS,” said Dr Gregory.
“Stock Assessment Models underpin
salmon stock management and,
together with co-leads in France, I
will be working to improve them as
part of the SAMARCH project. Membership of the WGNAS is based on
excellence and expertise in salmon
research. I bring my statistical skills
Stephen Gregory and Rasmus Lauridsen. - credit GWCT.
t o W G NA S a n d a i m t o i m p r o v e
salmon stock management throughout Europe.”
Dr Lauridsen said: “Work on trout,
and particularly their migratory form
sea trout, is an increasing part of our
work programme and forms a major
part of our current EU-funded project
SAMARCH (2017-2022). I am honoured to be chosen to sit on the working group for trout, and it will be a
perfect platform for me to disseminate, internationally, the work of the
Trust and results of the SAMARCH
SAMARCH, a multimillion pound
project part funded by the EU’s Interreg Channel Programme*, aims to
reverse the increasing declines in
salmon and sea trout.
Fo r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n , v i s i t
www.samarch.org n


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