Farmers in areas with no recorded incidents of agricultural pollution are being penalised by Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru.

Calls for Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru to Scrap Water Regulations


Janet Finch-Saunders MS, Shadow Minister for Climate Change, has criticised the Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru cooperation Government for persisting with The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021.

This month, in relation to the Regulations, Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru have announced that:

  • The implementation of the 170kg/ha annual holding nitrogen limit is being moved from 1 January 2023 to April 2023;
  • They will consult this autumn on a licensing scheme whereby any farm business can apply for a licence for a higher annual holding nitrogen limit of 250kg/ha subject to crop need and other legal considerations (to be operational until 2025);
  • They will undertake a further Regulatory Impact Assessment;
  • And provide up to £20m extra funding.

Having long campaigned against the Regulations, and representing a constituency renowned for its agricultural sector, Janet said:

“It remains the case that farmers in areas with no recorded incidents of agricultural pollution are being penalised by Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru.

“£20m is merely a drop of slurry in a large lagoon. As I have stated on several occasions, the regulatory impact assessment estimates that the upfront capital costs could run to £360million!

“At a time when Jeremy Clarkson and Gareth Wyn Jones are speaking so eloquently on behalf of farmers and calling for ‘mountains of regulations which seek to micromanage every acre’ to be slashed, Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour are doing the exact opposite.  The last thing agricultural businesses in Aberconwy need is more paperwork in the form of a licencing scheme.

“Rather than a three-month delay, what my constituents in Aberconwy are telling me is that the Regulations should be scrapped. A voluntary approach needs to be given a chance”.

Speaking on the Regulations too, Shadow Rural Affairs Minister Samuel Kurtz MS said:

“I’m pleased that some progress has been made on making these NVZ regulations more proportionate, but time will tell if Plaid’s cosying up to Labour will deliver for our rural communities.

“Nothing has been guaranteed by this consultation, and if the Welsh Government failed to take notice of the industry’s longstanding concerns on the derogation limit previously, then this could be nothing more than a desperate attempt by Plaid and Labour to salvage their reputation with the agricultural industry.

“However, we must treat this as a fresh opportunity to seek parity for Welsh farmers with our UK neighbours. The additional £20 million is welcome and will go some way to helping the industry meet the wider aspects of this regulation.”

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