LANDOWNERS and farmers have vowed to keep on fighting for Welsh farmers despite the Senedd’s rejection of a motion to annul the Welsh Government’s proposed new agricultural pollution regulations.

Fraser McAuley, CLA Cymru policy advisor, said: “The Government’s laudable objectives to tackle the problem can be better met by an approach which focuses attention where it’s most needed. This targeted approach means scarce resources can be better applied. Where a problem doesn’t exist we should not be imposing unnecessary costs on a hard-pressed sector in a future of uncertainty.”

“The crude closed-periods for nutrient-spreading will do everything to encourage more intense spreading in the open-periods. This limits farmers’ capacity to choose the right ground-conditions to add nutrient. In some instances this could make matters worse!”

Preseli Pembrokeshire Member of the Senedd Paul Davies criticised the Welsh Government for introducing the proposals, which do not follow the science and advice of its own regulator, Natural Resources Wales.

Mr Davies said: “The excessive and disproportionate proposals now coming into force in April will have a huge impact on the viability of many farms across Wales and even then, Natural Resources Wales has warned that the proposed new rules will have the perverse outcome of making water quality worse.

"Instead of introducing a blanket approach that will affect farms right across the country, the Welsh Government should have developed targeted action to water pollution incidents and built on the successful initiatives that farmers have already introduced.

"As a result, these regulations will threaten the sustainability of many farms in Pembrokeshire and have a serious impact on farmers’ mental health, all whilst there is still no clear evidence that this action will actually deliver the improvements in water quality that they have set out to achieve.”

The CLA's Mr McAuley added: “Affected farmers will need support to upgrade and increase slurry storage-capacity to comply. We really don’t believe the Welsh Government has allocated sufficient resource to do the job and we will be pressing-hard for more capital support through the farm business and sustainable production grants. Penalising hard-stretched farmers will lead to more departures from the business by small operators. The livelihood of many small family farms is at stake.”