Climate warning
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Climate warning

This UK river is dying after farmers lobbied to weaken envrionmental protection

The River Wye, a British river known for its natural beauty, is now risking complete ecological collapse. An investigation from openDemocracy has shed light on the role of farming unions, particularly the National Farmers' Union (NFU), in successfully lobbying the government to weaken vital environmental legislation. The consequences are dire, as pollution levels rise and key species face a decline in this designated Special Area of Conservation.
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The River Wye's deterioration is caused partly by the excess manure runoff from neighboring farmland. Disturbingly, environmental laws designed to limit this waste are not being adequately enforced. Internal documents from the Environment Agency reveal a loophole, introduced following NFU's lobbying efforts, that shields farmers from facing consequences for rule violations. The lack of enforcement allows excessive manure spreading, leading to elevated phosphate levels and toxic algal blooms that harm wildlife and domestic animals.
The involvement of the NFU in influencing legislation is concerning. Meetings between NFU representatives and government officials resulted in changes to the 'Farming Rules for Water', intended to reduce water pollution from agricultural sources. The NFU's lobbying efforts ultimately influenced the rewriting of terms of reference for an Environment Agency team responsible for implementing the legislation. The statutory guidance issued by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs created a loophole that enables farmers to spread manure even when unnecessary, as long as they take "reasonable precautions" to reduce pollution.
And you won't believe what happened next... The River Wye is now overloaded with excess nutrients, leading to a pea soup-like appearance and an impending ecological collapse. Legal action is being pursued against the Environment Agency for their failure to enforce the rules as intended. Let's hold the NFU accountable for its role in prioritising industry concerns over environmental protection. ⚠️

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  • Rukia Ahmed Abdi

    48 w

    this is realy disheartaning.A painfull reverse of gains made in climate change fight

    • rosebellendiritu

      48 w

      @rukia_ahmed_abdi unfortunately they are the same people that will start experiencing the effects.

    • Ajema Lydiah

      48 w

      disappointing,environmental protection laws should be reinforced

      • Daniel Waweru

        48 w

        So unfortunate

        • Lucinda Ramsay

          48 w

          So short sighted

          • Munene Mugambi

            48 w

            I feel there's an importance to put in place measures for coexistence between natural conservation and farming practices

            • winnie nguru

              48 w

              How sad. and the same farmers will suffer the consequences

              • rosebellendiritu

                48 w

                @winnie_nguru I think sometimes they don't think of long term implications.

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