Water quality. Agricultural activities can impact on both physical and chemical aspects of water quality. The mobilising of fines by ploughing, or ditch clearing, for example, and the subsequent potential for sedimentation can have adverse impact upon the environment. These impacts may apply to sensitive ecological features, fauna or flora and can lead to legal action against the landowner.
Hafren has provided advice to land owners in relation to controlling soil mobilisation from fields adjacent to watercourses and on measures that can be adopted to slow the flow in rivers to reduce flooding and increase sediment retention. These works have led to the avoidance of prosecution in several cases.
Agriculture can also impact on water quality via the use of organic and inorganic fertiliser and pesticides, in particular nutrients, nitrate and phosphate. Hafren Water has acted on behalf of a large number of landowners in England and Wales in appealing against Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) designation. Through detailed assessment of raw data the assumptions and conclusions drawn by Defra in their review have been critically appraised and questioned. Considerable success has been achieved in this process over the last three rounds of the NVZ review. In 2017 we acted on behalf of 200 landholders in nearly 40 river or groundwater catchments, with a high success rate in removing proposed or existing areas from NVZ designation. Assessment has also been undertaken to review impacts associated with the changing use of farmland on nearby river quality.