Carmarthenshire farmer fined for polluting river

Effluent from Lanfryn on the river

A Carmarthenshire farmer has been fined for polluting a river on four separate occasions.

Russell Law, aged 36, of Lanfryn, Whitemill pleaded guilty to the offence under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 and was sentenced on Thursday, 5 November, at Llanelli Magistrates’ Courts.

He 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.
“In this case, the farm had received several enforcement actions in the past including warning letters and a formal caution, which unfortunately had not had their desired effect. We were left with no alternative but to take enforcement action through the courts.”

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

On 8 February, 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 19 April, 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 10 July, 2018 and 21 December, 2018.

The stream was discoloured from slurry run-off. From the milk run-off, the water was grey and very smelly. There was extensive growth of sewage fungus on the bed of the stream for hundreds of metres.

Ioan Williams added:

“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 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.”

To report a pollution incident call NRW on 0300 065 3000.