The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
Commencement: 29th April 2023
Amends: The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/77 (W.20)
The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/77 (W.20) implement measures to address agricultural pollution in Wales by setting rules for certain farming practices.
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and replace The Nitrate Pollution Prevention (Wales) Regulations 2013, which means the existing NVZ designations are no longer applicable.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 2010as 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).
The dates in The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 have changed. The implementation date for regulation 4 (Application of livestock manure – total nitrogen limit for the whole holding) and regulation 36 (Record of nitrogen produced by animals on the holding) is now 31st October 2023.
Requirements are added for occupiers of a holding or part of a holding that was not previously located within a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone. These requirements are set out below.
- The occupier must ensure that the total amount of nitrogen in livestock manure does not exceed 170 kilograms per hectare in any 12-month period* from 31st October 2023.
- The occupier must report the following by 25th February 2025:
- The number and category of animals on the holding during the previous 12-month period.
- The number of days each animal spent on the holding during the previous 12-month period.
*12-month period means the period 31st October to 30th October.
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