River Wye action plan revealed

The River Wye action plan has been launched to preserve the long-term health of the river. It will include the introduction of up to a £35 million grant for poultry manure management equipment as well as the appointment of a new ‘river champion’ and taskforce.

The River Wye action plan has been launched by Defra to preserve the long-term health of the river and the area.

On Friday 12th April, farming minister Mark Spencer announced a new plan to better protect and preserve the River Wye for future generations.

The condition of the river is declining due to pressures including climate change, invasive species, and pollution from various sources, Defra said.

The government is working at pace to intervene after the condition of the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC), which covers the stretch of the river in England, was downgraded to ‘unfavourable – declining’ last year.

Reducing risk to environment

The action plan sets out a range of measures that aim to start protecting the river immediately from pollution. The government is also working on long-term plans to restore it for future generations.

This includes requiring large poultry farms to export manure away from areas where they would otherwise cause excess pollution. The government will also provide up to £35 million in grant support for on-farm poultry manure combustors in the Wye Special Area of Conservation catchment to facilitate the export of poultry litter to where it is needed.

Combusting poultry manure provides a source of renewable energy and converts manure to nutrient-rich ash, which is a valuable fertiliser that is easier to transport and use on farms, reducing the risk to the environment. Any new combustion units will need approval.

Defra said it will work with local stakeholders and regulators to ensure robust assessments for protection of the environment and human health.

River champion appointed  

The farming minister has also appointed a former member of European parliament, Anthea McIntyre CBE, as ‘river champion’ in the Wye catchment.   

As a resident of the Wye Catchment and having represented the West Midlands Region as an MEP for eight years, Ms McIntyre is expected to bring a deep understanding and appreciation for local issues, particularly in the water and agricultural sectors.    

 In this role, she will bring together key organisations and partners to protect and restore the Wye, including by supporting a long-term catchment plan.   

This will involve working alongside the local Catchment Partnership and citizen scientists, who have already made great progress in bringing together farmers and other land managers around a long-term plan to restore the river.  

River champion Anthea McIntyre CBE said: “I’m very honoured to be appointed as the River Wye champion and look forward to working with all the committed partners in the Wye Catchment to improve the quality of our vitally important river.  

“Having lived close to the River Wye since my teens, and represented this area over many years, I am determined to work collaboratively with all the interested parties to ensure the river is restored and protected for future generations.”  

Real challenges  

Mark Spencer MP

Farming minister Mark Spencer said that River Wye is facing “real challenges,” which is why the government is taking action to restore this important landscape and ensure it is better protected for future generations.       

He added: “Our plan will dramatically reduce the amount of nutrients entering the river, mostly by helping farmers transition to more sustainable practices.   

“This will include providing up to £35 million for on farm poultry litter combustors and trialling the use of emerging technology to help farmers share organic nutrients with their neighbours.” 

Read more environmental news.

© Farmers Guide 2024. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use Privacy Policy

Website Design by Unity Online

We have moved!

We’ve now moved to our new office in Stowmarket. If you wish to contact us please use our new address:

Unit 3-4 Boudicca Road, Suffolk Central Business Park, Stowmarket, IP14 1WF

Thank you,

The Farmers Guide Team