Issue 14

Pressure Mounts On Welsh Assembly Over Farm Pollution To Water Courses

by David Griffiths
16 Mar 2018

Many anglers will have seen the lead story on BBC Wales news yesterday (15th March 2018). The image shown here from Afonydd Cymru of yet another fish kill on the glorious River Teifi illustrates the issue all too well.

The alarming increase in catastrophic farm pollution incidents such as this, coupled with ongoing and abject failure of the Welsh Assembly to tackle the problem effectively has forced the hand of Afonydd Cymru to formally escalate matters to the EU.

Afonydd Cymru’s efforts may well not produce formal sanctions or specific directives, though. The Welsh Assembly is likely to be “saved by the bell” of Brexit before any EU enforcement can be applied.

However, the ongoing and relentless efforts of the Afonydd Cymru, lead by chief executive Dr Stephen Marsh-Smith and backed by a nationwide band of hard-working volunteers, should not be underestimated. And pressure continues to mount on the Welsh Assembly from other bodies such as Wildlife Trusts Wales, Butterfly Conservation Cymru, the RSPB, WWF Cymru, Salmon and Trout Conservation.

There was also widespread criticism of Leslie Griffiths’ decision in late 2017 not to introduce a nationwide Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, but rather to allow farmers to act “voluntarily”.

Powerful and well-funded lobbying from the NFU and farming groups are tough opponents over the issue of agricultural pollution, but even the existing legislation is woefully under-used by NRW, for example, in tackling pollution incidents.

Our angling is under increasing threat. But, sadly, my direct experience is that apathy amongst anglers to make their voices heard remains high. Instead of moaning about the how the fishing isn’t what it used to be, we should applaud and actively support the efforts of bodies whose volunteers do valuable work on our behalf, mostly with little thanks or recognition.


Thanks for Reading

May I thank you once again for supporting this site. I look forward to hearing from readers with your feedback and opinions. Please feel free to comment below and add your voice to the discussion.

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Until next time, thanks for reading.

David Griffiths
Editor, and keen angler!


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