The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023
Commencement: 31st October 2023
Amends: The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021
They apply to all farm businesses in Wales. Anyone who is the owner or occupier (e.g. tenants, graziers) of an agricultural land holding (regardless of its size) is responsible for complying with these Regulations.
Provisions are included around the following:
- nutrient management planning;
- sustainable fertiliser applications linked to the requirement of the crop;
- protection of water from pollution related to when, where and how fertiliser are spread; and
- manure and silage storage standards.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is responsible for enforcing these Regulations.
Previously, water quality was protected by preventing nitrates from agricultural sources polluting ground and surface waters via Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs)* that were in place and these Regulations revoke and replace The Nitrate Pollution Prevention (Wales) Regulations 2013, which means the existing NVZ designations are no longer applicable.
These Regulations also revoke and replace The Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Silage and Slurry)(Wales) Regulations 2010 as these Regulations now set the requirements for silage making, storage of silage effluent and for slurry storage systems. The Regulations are revoked in how they apply to farms situated in a NVZ from 1st April 2021 and fully for all other farms from 1st April 2024.
*Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) are areas within Wales that contain surface water or groundwater that is susceptible to nitrate pollution from agricultural activities. A map of these areas can be found here. Note that these Regulations have now replaced NVZs.
Requirements are being phased in for farms not previously located in a NVZ over three years, with certain requirements applying from 1st January 2023, 31st October 2023 and 1st April 2024:
- Regulations 4 and 36 apply from 31st October 2023.
- Regulations 5 to 11, 15, 23, 27 and 33 to 43 apply from 1st January 2023.
- Regulations 17 to 21, 25 and 26, and 28 to 31 apply from 1st August 2024.
All other parts of the Regulations applied from 1st April 2021. More information can be found in the duties section below. For farms that were previously located in a NVZ, they needed to be compliant with the Regulations on 1st April 2021 (the date they come into force).
Various duties apply.
Delays to the transition period
The introduction of regulations 4 and 36, which were due to come into force on 31st October 2023, have been delayed. They will now come into force on 1st January 2024. These regulations cover nitrogen limits for livestock manure and the records relating to nitrogen produced by animals.
Changes to the application of livestock manure
The annual 170kg limit on manure use for holdings not previously located within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone* (NVZ) now starts on 1st January of each year, bringing it in line with holdings previously situated within an NVZ (regulation 4).
*Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) are areas within Wales that contain surface water or groundwater that is susceptible to nitrate pollution from agricultural activities. A map of these areas can be found here.
Changes to calculations and records
The date on which occupiers of holdings not previously situated within an NVZ must start making a record of nitrogen produced by animals on their holding has been pushed back to 30th April 2025 and then 30th April for each subsequent year.
The time frame for which records of nitrogen produced by animals on a holding must be recorded has been changed. These time periods now begin on 1st January of each year.
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