Agriculture provides food, energy crops, wildlife habitats, a valued landscape and a place for recreation. However, some agricultural practices can have less desirable impacts on the environment, especially on water. We have created this tool to help you find out if the land you farm drains to water bodies (groundwater, streams, rivers, lakes and estuaries) that are thought to be affected by agricultural pollutants.
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) (European legislation) requires us to assess the pressures and effects of human activities (including farming) on the water environment. Through doing this we have identified water bodies that are at risk of failing the environmental objectives (to achieve a rating known as ‘Good Status’ – which includes chemical and ecological factors) set out in this legislation. These water bodies are known as ‘priority waters’. They have been classed as a priority for a number of different reasons.
Not all ‘priority waters’ have been included in WIYBY for Farmers as we have focused on ‘priority waters’ that have some contribution from agricultural land and are affected by either nitrates, phosphates, sediment or faecal indicator organisms (FIOs).
Other water bodies in your area may be at risk and for a more detailed list of pollutants in your area, please consult your local River Basin Management Plan (for more information on these and a link to the plans go to http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/research/planning/33106.aspx
). These plans set out the environmental aims for all the water bodies within the River Basin District and how they can be achieved.
What can this tool do?
This tool will give you an idea of the environmental state the water bodies around and through your land, and whether agriculture is believed to be contributing to any water quality issues.
Use the postcode finder or the map above to find your land, and zoom to 1:75,000 scale (or lower). If your land is covered by the purple shading then this shows that your land drains to one of our ‘priority waters’. You can click on the map to view information about this area. Follow the on-screen instructions to find out what actions we would like you to consider doing, if you are not doing them already. We recognise that each farm and each landscape means that the most effective action to reduce pollutant losses from your farm will vary.
Please note that priority waters at risk from pesticides are not included as part of this tool. Information on the risks from pesticides and what you can do to reduce these risks can be found at the Voluntary Initiative’s (VI) website http://www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk
. The VI is a voluntary programme of work promoting responsible pesticide use.