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Water friendly farming initiative gathers momentum

by 5m Editor
31 October 2006, at 12:32pm

UK - The key elements of a programme to help farmers tackle the causes of harmful water pollution are now in place, Environment Minister Ian Pearson announced today.

The England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative, launched in December 2005, targets priority catchments across England where changes in farm practices are being sought to reduce water pollution from agriculture. It is estimated that the cost of removing harmful pesticides and nitrates from drinking water is £7 a year for every water customer.

Thirty-nine dedicated Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers are now in post and have begun work, preparing catchment appraisals and drawing up action plans. Catchment steering groups are being set up with representatives from the farming sector, environmental bodies and water companies to oversee local delivery.

Contracts for providing local advice and technical support for farmers and land managers have been awarded and a range of activities starts this autumn in all forty priority catchments including farm visits, farmer workshops and seminars and farm demonstrations.

The Initiative is also supporting existing projects in other catchments as Associate CSF projects. Twenty of these have now been selected. Work is also proceeding to introduce a Catchment Sensitive Farming capital grants scheme in 2007-2008

Environment Minister Ian Pearson said:

“Catchment Sensitive Farming is taking a significant step forward with this Initiative, as it must, if we are to tackle diffuse water pollution from agriculture.

“Defra and its partners - Natural England and the Environment Agency, have created the conditions for the farming industry to play its part and become more sustainable. Now attention turns to what happens in the catchments and on farms. This is where we need to see changes.”

Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England noted:

"Farmers and land managers have a major role to play in improving England's wildlife and wetlands. We're determined to make these partnerships work. An integrated approach to the management of land, water, flora and fauna is critical for the conservation and enhancement of the natural environment.

As a lead partner offering advice to farmers, Natural England will help bring the management of these important natural resources together."

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency added:

"This is an important initiative for farmers, the Environment Agency and our delivery partners. It supports simple, low-cost activities that could make a big difference to our environment. This is the right framework for partnership and action at a local level.

We hope that farmers and land managers grasp this opportunity to show how we can continue to work together to improve water quality."

ThePoultrySite News Desk

5m Editor