Members urged to respond to NVZs consultation

THE Welsh Government is currently consulting on the four yearly review of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) in Wales and the FUW is urging its members to respond, given the financial implications imposed on those who live in designated areas. As stipulated in the EC Nitrates Directive, Defra, the Welsh Government, and Natural Resources Wales, have undertaken a review of the existing NVZ areas in Wales, and are assessing if any new areas need to be designated. The union has been involved in the review and has made its concerns clear over the past months, but stresses that all farmers need to make their voice heard through the consultation. FUW senior policy officer Dr Hazel Wright, who has been representing the union in the review process, said: ‘‘The FUW has made successful representations on several designations, which resulted in their removal from the discrete areas option of the consultation. However, the number of proposed new designations remain a concern and the FUW continues to reiterate the operational and financial impacts those designations would have upon farms that reside within an NVZ area. Given such costs, there must be full justification for any proposed increases in designation.” Two options outlined in the consultation include the continuation of the discrete approach to designation or the designation of the whole of Wales as a NVZ. A continuation of the discrete approach would see an increase in the amount of NVZ designations in Wales rise from 2.4 per cent to 8 per cent. This would mean significant changes to NVZ designation in counties such as Pembrokeshire, Carmarthen and Anglesey. “The FUW remains resolutely against the option to apply the action programme throughout the whole of Wales as this would require all landowners to comply with the NVZ action programme measures. “There is a distinct lack of evidence for a whole territory approach and the difficulties and costs associated with regulatory compliance for farms whose land does not drain into nitrate polluted waters, makes this option both unwarranted and unreasonably excessive,” added Dr Wright. There are a number of proposals put forward in this consultation which will seriously impact farmers in Wales and the FUW is urging members to respond through the union’s county office structure to ensure that farmers’ views are thoroughly represented.

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