In August we reported on our work with a group of Herefordshire farmers to reduce the impact of agriculture on the health of the river Wye.
Hosted by Kate Speke-Adams, the Foundation’s Head of Landuse, this meeting was also attended by representatives from the Environment Agency and experts from Lancaster University, both of whose modelling has concluded that the river’s phosphorus inputs (the cause of the severe algal blooms) are approximately 70% of agricultural origin. The consensus of the group was that the industry needed to take its share of the responsibility for the current state of the river, to be proactive and to make significant changes to reduce agriculture’s impact.
This consensus was further demonstrated at this October’s Wye Nutrient Management Board meeting when John Reed, the Agriculture Director at Avara Foods and an active member of the Herefordshire group, confirmed that the company was “accepting a level of responsibility……. We are part of the issue and will be part of the solution.”
This is very welcome news for the Wye. An acceptance by those contributing to a problem that they are part of it is a vital step forward. It allows us and others to spend more of our effort and resources on delivering the measures urgently needed to restore the river’s health.