Use Technology to protect Welsh rivers not just “farming by calendar” – says Senedd Committee

Published 09/06/2022   |   Last Updated 23/06/2022   |   Reading Time minutes

Giving farmers exact dates when they can spread slurry is not the best way to protect our waterways according to a Senedd Committee report.

The Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs committee have today urged the Welsh Government to prioritise any technological alternatives to closed periods for slurry spreading, or ‘farming by calendar’.

Slurry spreading is restricted to certain days of the year under new legislation passed by Welsh Government to control agricultural pollution.

The restrictions have been deemed old-fashioned by the Senedd committee and farming groups claim that technological advances could be more efficient, beneficial and cost effective.

'Take account of the realities'

Paul Davies MS, Chair of the Economy Trade and Rural Affairs Committee, said: “The current regulations amount to ‘farming by calendar’, and need to take account of the realities for Welsh farmers.

“The weather is critical when spreading vitally important slurry to improve crop yields, and we owe it to the farming community to make sure that we’re able to use the most up to date technology,

“This is a no-brainer. At a time when we have to balance tackling the climate emergency with issues of food security, we need to help farmers protect their livelihoods as well as protecting Welsh air and water quality standards.”

The Welsh Government currently has to review the effectiveness of the Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) regulations every four years, but the Committee is calling for improvements to be made much sooner.

Last July, Members of the Senedd unanimously voted for the regulations to be reviewed by a Senedd Committee.

However due to a legal challenge to the Regulations, the Committee’s work was delayed. The review outlines ten recommendations to the Welsh Government for improvements to the regulations.

Welsh Government’s response to the findings is expected in early September.



More on this story

Review of The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021 Read the report

Inquiry: Agricultural Pollution Regulations