Advisers to Help Tackle Water Pollution Causes

The Journal (Newcastle, England), December 20, 2005 | Go to article overview

Advisers to Help Tackle Water Pollution Causes


Byline: By Anna Lognonne

Special advisers are to help farmers tackle the causes of harmful water pollution, the Government has announced.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley unveiled 40 areas across England identified as priorities for action, including one in the North ( the Solway and Tweed River Basin District covering around 893 square km in the Tweed Catchment and Lindisfarne area.

They will be targeted under a range of measures aimed at improving farm practices and reducing water pollution from agriculture.

Newly appointed advisers will work on a one-to-one basis with farmers, as well as leading a series of initiatives, including workshops and farm demonstrations, to encourage best practice.

Pollution caused by agriculture can have a serious effect on local rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters. Nutrients seeping into water from fertilised fields can boost the growth in algae, which in turn squeeze out plants like water buttercups. Oxygen levels can also become depleted, suffocating fish.

River plants, such as the brook water crowfoot, are at risk from soil-loss from fields, which can also hamper the breeding of trout, salmon and a range of insects.

Treating such pollution is often expensive ( it is estimated that the cost of removing harmful pesticides and nitrates from drinking water is pounds 7-a-year for every water customer.

Diffuse pollution from agriculture can reduce the quality of bathing water, with detrimental effects for the tourist industry.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said taking action to address diffuse pollution will help the Government with the measures being developed under the Water Framework Directive to improve water quality.

Mr Morley said: "One of the greatest challenges we face in boosting the quality

of our water environment is in tackling pollution from agriculture.

"This new initiative will help address this threat by providing farmers with the understanding and know-how needed to improve farming practices. …

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