Another slurry pollution - Clwyd.

diawl bach

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
8,363
Jesus. That's the next village but one downstream from me, it's a lovely little trib with a population of brown trout, I've walked it all. Probably wiped in these low water conditions. Hot on the heels of another slurry incident from a neighbouring farm a week ago, absolutely infuriating, where the **** is the regulator? In a sodding meeting no doubt.
 

diawl bach

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
8,363
From my local rag last week -


With NRW's consistent record of setting targets and allowing farmers to breach them I'm afraid this latest ruse will prove to be yet more window dressing or, again, a policy to be reversed following representation from farmers.
 

diawl bach

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
8,363
As ever I listened to Farming Today this morning https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000rlqr where Lesley Griffiths answered questions on the pan-Wales Nitrate Vulnerable Zone classification which the new legislation introduces.

The policy sounds good for rivers but there'll be no extra funding to finance it, no additional personnel to police it and , other than the new designations, no new legislation to enforce it.

Wales being what it is, run by farmers for farmers, Lesley had a lot of opposition to her proposals, both Conservative and Plaid AMs, knowing where their bread's buttered have given the regulations a very rough ride - see last year's discussion of the issue, begins at #19 https://record.assembly.wales/Plenary/6078?lang=en-GB
 

dgp

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 1, 2013
Messages
487
Location
Wales.
I was shocked to read yesterday that the minister admitted that there has been an average of 3 farm pollution incidents every week for the last 3 years.
 

diawl bach

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
8,363
It's a terrible indictment for newly formed NRW, an utter failure - not that EA Wales were any better but, at the outset, I did have high hopes for a devolved environmental regulator.

Farmers Union Wales president Glyn Roberts is not a happy bunny and despite overwhelming evidence of farming's disastrous impact on Welsh freshwater he chose to ignore the facts by saying "this announcement makes a mockery of devolution, and marks a betrayal of the principles of evidence-based decision making,"
 

wrongfoot

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Messages
1,850
Location
Northumberland
Good grief.

What an awful ongoing narrative...

I suspect a sad reality is (because all governments are morally weak where doing the right thing costs enough votes to threaten their power) the demographics of a devolved Wales means that agricultural pollution will be allowed until it gets so bad that there's a back-lash that might cost votes. Given how little the public allow environmental issues to influence their voting, that'll probably be very very bad indeed, before it gets better. They certainly seem to be in thrall to the agricultural lobby.

Must be really depressing to be a welsh angler and environmentalist "diawl"? I really feel for you. Yet you stay engaged...

PS. This isn't meant as an anti or pro-devolution statement, just a observation of political outcomes. National governments are similarly blinkered on similar and other issues. Maybe let's not have devolution politics bun fight everyone? Although I noticed FUW weren't above playing that card.
 
Last edited:

diawl bach

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
8,363
Cheers SM,much appreciated.
I stay engaged by contributing as a riparian owner to Fish Legal, I hope forum members will lobby their clubs or act as individuals to do the same.
As anglers the law is our only recourse and the laws are there to prevent pollution regardless of whether environmental regulators, regardless of your location in the UK, choose to act on them.
I have two court cases on the go thanks to the excellent services of Fish Legal, make sure your club's covered and give polluters a run for their money when they fack up your water, we really are on our own.
 

Hardrar

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
1,066
Location
North Yorkshire
Very saddened to here this.
Seems to be an issue restricted mainly but not entirely to Wales? Maybe wrong though?
I deal with farmers as a living and the rules in England are pretty stringent now on slurry storage, particularly in catchments.
The stores have to be covered to protect from rainfall and ghg release limitation. My only misgiving is the authorities insist any new storage is “above ground” which in the event of a “breach” the slurry runs downhill. Correctly engineered “In ground” covered tanks, not Earth lagoons of course, would be a safer option.
One of the issues is herd sizes becoming much larger, without prior adequate investment. You wonder when the Authorities are going to get a grip of this situation, it’s terrible, is the “ polluter pays” rule not applied?
 

wrongfoot

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
Messages
1,850
Location
Northumberland
[...] My only misgiving is the authorities insist any new storage is “above ground” which in the event of a “breach” the slurry runs downhill. Correctly engineered “In ground” covered tanks, not Earth lagoons of course, would be a safer option. [...]

I read into this years ago as I was concerened about some above ground slurry storage at a specific location. I came to the conclusion below-ground "might be" environmentally safer perhaps, but absolutely not generally safer.

Buried tanks can't be inspected externally, internal inspections are too dangerous, expensive to do safely and would be carried out too infrequently if at all.
Where internal access for maintenance is unavoidable above ground tanks can be vented passively, below ground need powered ventilation or access wearing breathing apparatus.

Farmers die every year suffocating in slurry stores https://www.google.com/search?channel=fs&client=ubuntu&q=farmer+suffocates+in+slurry+store H2S is a real killer.

So catastrophic failure more likely to have higher environmental consequences, but it's relatively easy to inspect maintain and manage to avoid that mode of failure unless negligent. Below-ground tanks can cause major pollution events too as leaks are often not noticed with prolonged impact sometimes far worse than a short term high concentration event.

My understanding is that like most things it's a somewhat of a trade-off, but human lives matter and it was a case of weighing the alternatives when choosing the guidance.

PS. I'd agree with your (implied) suggestion that earth wall lagoons are a dangerous liability.
 
Last edited:

Hardrar

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
1,066
Location
North Yorkshire
A Few very good points there, after pondering for a while, of course the simplistic answer is to turn back the clock and ban Slurry and go back to straw or shaving bedded yards?
Ironically I have one customer- a third generation dairy farmer, does things differently, no hybrid Holstein cows, traditional British Friesian x Angus x Brown Swiss x Swedish Red, all smaller very Hardy genetics, + no foot trimming needed, very little veterinary care, 8+ lactations average. Low production, but equally low cost and all grass based system. 400+ through the Parlour, only housed at night in Winter, out at pasture during the day, but land is free draining & sandy. No slurry on the farm, he makes a good living and the cows look happy.
Far cry from Zero grazed Holstein hybrids housed on a Sandbed strawless system- very high production but very high costs, major foot, health, longevity and fertility issues- millions of litres of slurry, I have clients like this also.
 

dgp

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 1, 2013
Messages
487
Location
Wales.
In my experience many of the problems arise from slurry spreading not storage. Fields are plastered in spring which if heavy rain falls shortly after (which is common in Wales) then the run off inevitably ends up in the rivers - sometimes not obvious or a trickle but enough to do damage, Very little 'policing' of the practice and certainly few follow up fines. I would also question whether outwntering 400 cattle by day in the winter we are having now is more environmentally friendly than a housed herd of holsteins
 

diawl bach

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
8,363
I read into this years ago as I was concerened about some above ground slurry storage at a specific location. I came to the conclusion below-ground "might be" environmentally safer perhaps, but absolutely not generally safer.

Buried tanks can't be inspected externally, internal inspections are too dangerous, expensive to do safely and would be carried out too infrequently if at all.
Where internal access for maintenance is unavoidable above ground tanks can be vented passively, below ground need powered ventilation or access wearing breathing apparatus.

Farmers die every year suffocating in slurry stores https://www.google.com/search?channel=fs&client=ubuntu&q=farmer+suffocates+in+slurry+store H2S is a real killer.

So catastrophic failure more likely to have higher environmental consequences, but it's relatively easy to inspect maintain and manage to avoid that mode of failure unless negligent. Below-ground tanks can cause major pollution events too as leaks are often not noticed with prolonged impact sometimes far worse than a short term high concentration event.

My understanding is that like most things it's a somewhat of a trade-off, but human lives matter and it was a case of weighing the alternatives when choosing the guidance.

PS. I'd agree with your (implied) suggestion that earth wall lagoons are a dangerous liability.


Interesting, thanks for that. I think we're all agreed that constant leaching as described by dgp and catastrophic failures in slurry storage are equally damaging, muck spreading and overuse of fertilisers in maize production is a huge factor in the overenrichment of our SAC waters, mainly responsible for the high phosphate levels recorded above.

One of the polluting elements which, thankfully, is absent in my catchment ( for now) is intensive chicken farming. The Guardian published an article today about the planning for one in Berriew, Powys, permission overturned after a judicial review.


Again, this poses the question where the hell was the sodding regulator's input in this process, the quotes from NRW indicate a total disregard for the environmental impacts of farming, it's just another scandal in an increasingly long line of inept regulation.

“There were concerns that phosphate levels were associated with poultry units, but we have not found a direct connection between the two elements,” said Gavin Bown, head of mid Wales operations for NRW, at the time. Which is total bollox, it's a recognised contributor to the problems with phosphates which the Wye catchment is experiencing.

NRW needs to undergo a cultural shift , they're not fit for purpose and our freshwaters are dying because of their complacency, when local pressure groups have to do the job of the national environmental regulator it's plain to see that something in the governing of the country has gone very wrong indeed. Top marks to the activists 💪
 

sewinbasher

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2006
Messages
11,791
Location
North East Wales
Just a glimmer of hope in that Powys CC admitted that it was wrong to give planning permission for a mega chicken farm after judicial review! Other Welsh authorities should take note as the Clwyd catchment has a real issue with multiple applications for chicken farms proposing to dump slurry on riparian fields. NRW comments seem to avoid any reference to fish but newts get a mention!
 
Last edited:

Hardrar

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
1,066
Location
North Yorkshire
In my experience many of the problems arise from slurry spreading not storage. Fields are plastered in spring which if heavy rain falls shortly after (which is common in Wales) then the run off inevitably ends up in the rivers - sometimes not obvious or a trickle but enough to do damage, Very little 'policing' of the practice and certainly few follow up fines. I would also question whether outwntering 400 cattle by day in the winter we are having now is more environmentally friendly than a housed herd of holsteins
It’s very Sandy flat level ground and stocking density is low. If Holsteins are housed on straw yards, that’s pretty good, but a lot are on strawless and slurry systems, which means vast volumes of slurry have to be then applied in the spring/Summer Window.
We’re in East and North Yorkshire so a relatively low rainfall area, 24 inches pa is the average but it has crept to 30 an odd year recently.
Native breeds also don’t crowd around gates etc and have to be rounded up and fetched at Milking time, the weather doesn’t worry them much, they prefer to be grazing and well spaced out.
 

diawl bach

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Messages
8,363

Hardrar

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
1,066
Location
North Yorkshire
One of the downsides upon British farming, of the then “Common market“ was all the garbage, but very fashionable livestock genetics that were introduced.
Cattle:-
Belgian Blues- impossible to get calf’s out, bad feet poor killing out %. Chianina - Wild temperament and tough meat, bad feet not Hardy Simmental- best of a bad bunch calmer but poor killing out % and expensive to feed with bad feet, not great calving. Charolais- terrible killing out % slow growers and big eaters, bad feet, not Hardy, poor feed conversion, terrible to calf. limousine- bad grass feed conversion, totally Wild-will kill you with any calves about and not very Hardy, really bad feet, not good grazers.
Pretty much all the above is not great quality eating meat- too lean, just like eating a truck tyre.
Sheep:-
Texel types, Ill thrift, lose condition, not Hardy, bad feet and suffer with a genetic susceptibility to a viral form of lung cancer, short lived, bad to lamb, bad bags.
Beltex- popular with the butcher, short of breath susceptible to Pneumonia, terrible feet, bad to lamb, not very fertile, bad bags, even shorter lived.
Charolais:- Ugly as F’ born virtually bald, not Hardy awful feet, Tups aggressive, but easy lambing, bad bags.
Rouge:-same as above really but uglier still!
They all look nice, are larger and maybe produce more lean meat, but they are soft, more prone to our endemic diseases and Parasites and farmers seem to forget the fact our climate is a tad harsher than the Continent!
It’s taken about forty years, but the British public have finally realised that native British breeds eat and taste infinitely better, consequently most abattoirs now pay a good premium for named native breed sires. Angus, Galloway, Redpoll, Shorthorn, Hereford, Dexter. Lincoln Red, Shetland, Highland.
Ironically farmers are simultaneously coming to realise they are actually more profitable too.
I’m looking forward to being able to buy proper traditional Wensleydale cheese again, after Europe outlawed the production methods.
 

Latest posts

Top