THE WELSH GOVERNMENT has said it may consider a moratorium on poultry planning applications following the outcome of a review of river water quality.
Natural Resources Wales is currently looking at nutrient levels following pressure from campaign groups that have blamed an algal bloom on the River Wye this summer on runoff from poultry farms.
See also: Poultry blamed for bloom on Wye
NFU Cymru has defended the sector, saying that evidence showed application rates of nitrogen, phosphates and potash had been declining since 1983 and water quality had been improving.
But more than 75,000 people have signed a petition calling for a moratorium of new poultry farms in Powys, where 75 new units have been approved since 2017, according to the BBC.
A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: “Consideration of any moratorium on planning applications for such units would be based on evidence.
“A review of nutrient levels in rivers in Wales is currently being undertaken by Natural Resources Wales – if that review provided any such evidence, we would be able to consider a moratorium, but only once the review is complete.
“We are also working with stakeholders to develop updated national guidance to support authorities in fulfilling their planning responsibilities.
“We are also working towards a new set of agricultural pollution regulations, a draft of which was published in the spring.
“If agreed, those regulations would be brought forward with an evidenced understanding of how the farming sector might implement any such measures in the light of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.”