NFU CYMRU remains highly concerned at Welsh Government’s approach to introducing new rules for water in Wales.

The new rules, to be introduced across Wales from January 1, 2020, are similar to the full Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) action programme, and include statutory measures to control the dates (closed periods) under which nitrogen and organic fertilisers are spread; requiring farmers to have capacity for five months storage of manures and slurries as well as preparing detailed plans and increased record keeping.

Transitionary periods are expected to apply for some elements.

NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “Welsh Government is opting to apply NVZ rules for the whole of Wales, despite water quality monitoring undertaken by Natural Resources Wales in line with the EU Nitrates Directive clearly showing there can be no question whatsoever of the need for such an approach.

“Every farmer in Wales will be required to adhere to this costly and complex regulation which will involve significantly more paperwork and record-keeping for every farm business, not to mention significant expense.

"This is not evidence-based decision making. It is an approach we categorically reject.”

Mr Davies added: “Welsh Government’s approach is highly contradictory and works against its own objectives of a regulatory regime that is simplified, proportionate to the risks involved, focused on delivering outcomes and not driven by process as described in its recent consultation ‘Sustainable Farming and Our Land’, which sets out revised proposals of how farmers will be supported post Brexit.

“The new regulations also put into the sphere of regulation many nutrient management actions that Welsh Government proposes to support through its proposed Sustainable Farming Scheme.

"Welsh Government will only fund actions above the regulatory baseline and establishing a regulatory baseline that is so high will severely limit the actions that farmers can be rewarded for as part of a future scheme.

"The lack of integration and join-up between these two work streams is highly concerning."