The Welsh government has been on the receiving end from attacks by farming unions that have asked it to come clear on the new agricultural pollution rules. Currently, the nitrate vulnerable zones cover about three percent of the total land in Wales. These are areas marked by the Welsh government as highly vulnerable to agricultural nitrate pollution.
The rules are designed by the government to protect natural resources including rivers, forests, lakes and wild animals from harmful agricultural chemicals that would otherwise jeopardize their wellness. Consequentially, farmers in the affected areas have to put up with tougher restrictions that limit how they use agricultural products, especially fertilizer and manure spreading.
The farmers unions in the country are protesting the move to expand nitrate vulnerable zones citing lack of enough information and guidelines from the government. Rebecca Voyle, county executive officer of Farmers Union of Wales, told the media that there is increasing anxiety among farmers who have fallen victims of the government’s empty promises regarding the new NVZs.
According to Ms Voyle, the dairy farmers are protesting the government’s intention to keep them in the dark on how the rules will work. Apparently, most dairy farmers in wales are already feeling the pressure of bovine TB, which has killed many of their animals. There is also a depression in milk prices in the area. This means that farmers have no money to spare in the system to enable adjust to the changes in NVZs.
Ms Voyle added that increasing the NVZs will be detrimental to the productivity of dairy farmers. The rules would lead to some farms going bust because most of the farmers need to increase their storage capacity for slurry. However, environmentalists argue that the rules will help reduce the rate of pollution waters and streams in Wale. On the other side, farmers argue that they are a just a small segment of a large pool of sectors that affect the quality of water in the country.
The government is not willing to back down amidst the protests from the dairy farmers. When asked about the situation, Cabinet Secretary for Environment said that they were committed to launch the program in September. She also said that the government was open to any suggestion on the new NVZ areas.