The Welsh Liberal Democrats have expressed grave concerns that proposed blanket water pollution measures will cause serious damage to our local farming communities.
The Party has condemned the “heavy-handed” and uniform policy being debated by Senedd Members today Wednesday March 3. If approved it will apply to all farms and farmers regardless of their size and the impact of their farming practices, which the Party says will hit small family farms the hardest.
The Party have also released an 8 point plan on how to work with rural communities to tackle water pollution, available here: https://www.montlibdems.org.uk/welsh_lib_dems_outline_8_point_plan_to_tackle_water_pollution
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are urging for a delay in the implementation of these measures while evidence is re-evaluated. The Party is also calling for funding to be increased to Natural Resources Wales immediately for an extensive monitoring programme of water quality throughout the country, including around all treatment works and sewage outlets.
William Powell, Agriculture Spokesperson and Senedd Candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire, said:
“River pollution in Wales and across the UK absolutely needs to be tackled.
“However, 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, when she promised 11 times not to do so.
“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.”
Alison Alexander, Senedd Candidate for Montgomeryshire, added:
“We wholeheartedly support measures to clean up our rivers and lakes. But they must be evidence-based and must work for farmers. Natural Resources Wales must be properly funded to be able to deal swiftly and severely with the small number of ‘bad apples’ whose actions damage our precious environment.
“We advocate a policy framework that makes it possible for farmers to make a living producing affordable, high quality food in an environmentally-friendly way. Putting small cattle farmers out of business will mean more sheep, less floral diversity and pollution of a different kind. We can’t let this happen.”