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HomeFarming NewsFarmer (36) fined for polluting river on four separate occasions
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farmer (36) fined for polluting river on four separate occasions

A 36-year-old farmer has been fined for polluting a river on four separate occasions.

Russell Law, Lanfryn, Whitemill pleaded guilty to the offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016.

He was sentenced on Thursday, November 5th, at Llanelli Magistrates’ Courts. Law was ordered to pay a total of £5,562.86 – a £3,400 fine, £2,041.86 court costs and a £121 victim surcharge.

Ioan Williams, environment team leader for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said: “We take enforcement action when our efforts of offering advice and practical support to farmers have been ignored.”

“When something threatens the safety of our natural resources, or there is compelling evidence that regulations are being deliberately flouted, we will not hesitate in taking enforcement action.”

“The farm had received several enforcement actions in the past. This included warning letters and a formal caution, which unfortunately had not had their desired effect.”

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“We were left with no alternative but to take enforcement action through the courts.”

Four separate incidents

Law admitted causing pollution incidents on four separate occasions. These include infrastructure failures and slurry spreading activities between February and December 2018.

On February 8th, 2018, Mr Law had allowed slurry spreading to take place in poor weather conditions.

This caused slurry to run-off from fields near Lanfryn causing pollution in a tributary to the Nant Crychiau.

The Code of Good Agricultural Practice states that slurry should not be spread on waterlogged soils, when fields are frozen hard or when heavy rain is forecast with 48 hours.

On April 19th, 2018, there was milk flowing from Lanfryn into the tributary due to an infrastructure failure on the farm.

There were a further two incidents of farm effluent entering the tributary recorded on July 10th, 2018 and  December 21st, 2018.

The stream was discoloured from slurry run-off. From the milk run-off, the water was grey and had a strong odour. There was extensive growth of sewage fungus on the bed of the stream for hundreds of metres, the court heard.

Report pollution incidents

“NRW works closely with all partners involved in the agricultural sector to minimise the risk of agricultural pollution from occurring.”

“This work is coordinated by the Wales Land Management Forum sub-group. Improvements are being made and most farmers act responsibly in their practices managing manures, slurries and wastes.”

“We recognise that sometimes things do go wrong, but we urge farmers that if they know they have caused pollution, to report it to us at NRW immediately by calling 0300 065 3000.”

“The sooner we know about it, the sooner we can work with them to try and reduce the impact on the environment.”

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