Powys’s local Lib Dem candidates have waded in on the announcement that the Welsh Government intends to introduce a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) across the whole of Wales from as early as April 1.
Commenting upon the Welsh Government NVZ announcement, William Powell, the Agricultural Spokesperson for the Welsh Lib Dems and Senedd Candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire, said:
'River pollution in Wales and across the UK absolutely needs to be tackled. There are three river pollution incidents a week across Wales and NRW are currently investigating a number of serious incidents in our area, that have caused distress and upset locally.
'However, we will not achieve the environmental improvements we all know to be necessary unless we all work in partnership with our farming communities. There is increasing awareness amongst farmers of the importance of driving down the environmental impact and of working with nature.
'I share the frustration expressed by NFU Cymru and FUW leaders that the Minister has decided to launch such a fundamental initiative in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. I also agree strongly with the view expressed by NFU Cymru President John Davies that this issue needs a partnership approach and one that extends beyond party divides.
'It is vital that we have such a collective approach if these essential water quality standards are to be met. That has everything to do with commitment and joint working - and party-political sloganeering should be left at the door.
'It is also very important that farmers and land managers are given greater support, both with the bureaucratic requirements of manure and fertilizer management, as well as access to additional funding to offset the capital outlay required to make a success of this far-reaching program.'
Alison Alexander, the Welsh Lib Dem Senedd Candidate for Montgomeryshire, added:
"Nobody in the farming industry and our rural communities doubts the importance of healthy waterways, clean air, and an unpolluted environment, and measures to achieve these goals. We all want to pass on a greener Wales to future generations.
“The critical point here is we need everybody to work together. Farmers need to be supported financially and have access to training for any change in farming practices and the transition needs to be smooth.
“Montgomeryshire, Ceredigion and Brecon and Radnorshire Liberal Democrats have been working extremely hard in recent months to produce a sustainable agricultural policy, in consultation with farmers, that provides a long-term vision for nature- and people-friendly farming In Wales. Together we can create a system that ensures farmers can earn a good living providing high quality, nutritious, affordable food and one in which wildlife can flourish."