Whilst we have all been staying at home and protecting our communities, CPRW’s incredible volunteers have been continuing to research and campaign to protect the countryside we all care about so much. As the Pandemic has raged, we have been working on many fronts, but now we are blowing the whistle on a terrible, accelerating threat to some of our most important rivers - we have to act urgently.
All across Wales industrial levels of animal waste, generated in enormous intensively-farmed chicken, pig and cattle sheds, are pouring into our rivers. In West Wales we keep seeing shoals of floating dead fish killed by acute cattle-slurry spills. In Mid- Wales, Powys alone is home to almost 10 million intensively farmed chickens.
Phosphates reaching the river from the manure in sheds and extra manure spread on fields are a significant cause of algal blooms. Modelling suggests that agricultural phosphates in the Lower Wye have doubled in the last six years just like the number of chickens in the upper Welsh reaches. Every new approval for an industrial shed increases the level of risk to our rivers and yet the approvals just go on and on.
So how is this being allowed to happen?
The Welsh Government say they are committed to reversing the severe decline in biodiversity across Wales but Natural Resources Wales, is severely under-resourced. The Welsh Government also says it is up to local authorities to make local planning decisions according to Welsh Planning Policy and the Local Plan. But local authorities, also underfunded, say NRW is responsible for giving them planning advice about environmental protection. During this ping-pong stalemate, pressure from vested interests results in more expansion and the damage to our rivers and wildlife accumulates.
Enough is enough. We need proper protection of all Welsh rivers and a moratorium on any new intensive livestock development in Powys. The Welsh Government and NRW must recognise what is happening in front of their eyes and take urgent action now.
We completely understand how complex the balance is between sustaining jobs, producing food and protecting the environment. We want that balance but the scales have tipped too far. Wales cannot afford to let our rivers die.
CPRW is working with other environmental organisations to make our government and regulators take action. We are raising the issue in the media and have run stories in the Sunday Times and Daily Mail as well as a whole host of local newspapers. With very limited resources our groups are continuing to monitor, research and hold local authorities to account.
These are especially challenging times, but if you can, please support our appeal today or support your local branch. You can donate here
What’s happening in your area?
With 13 CPRW branches across Wales, there’s bound to be something exciting in your area to get involved with. Our branches organise local events, campaign against insensitive planning and fundraise for our wider work. Join your closest branch to support your local community and defend your unique landscapes.