Farmers in Severn Trent priority catchments are being encouraged to sign up to the Farm to Tap scheme to receive up to £5/ha for protecting watercourses from metaldehyde.
Laura Flower, Severn Trent catchment scientist, explains that, although this is the penultimate season for metaldehyde application, reducing the risk it poses to water is still a primary objective. So, the water company says it is looking to continue its collaboration with farmers throughout the process.
“For those still using metaldehyde, the Farm to Tap payments will provide some buffer for trialling different IPM techniques for slug control or contribute towards the cost of the ferric phosphate alternative,” she says.
“Since starting the scheme in 2017, over 800 farmers have worked in close collaboration with our agricultural advisers to successfully reduce metaldehyde levels reaching treatment works annually, and we don’t want this year to be any different.”
Applications for the scheme are now open until 15th September 2020. And, to encourage all farmers in the area to join in with the effort, Severn Trent is offering a £100 bonus to those in catchments with no exceedances over the drinking water standard of 0.1ppb during the testing period.
“Metaldehyde is extremely costly to remove from water, so it’s essential for us to work in partnership with farmers to prevent the issue at the source. Every £1 we spend on catchment management activity, such as the Farm to Tap scheme, we save £20 in treatment, ensuring customer bills are kept as low as possible,” says Laura.
For more information, or to apply, visit: https://www.stwater.co.uk/about-us/environment/catchment-management/farm-to-tap/ or contact your local Severn Trent agricultural adviser.