Researching Farmer Perspectives on the Impact of a Potential Increase in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in Wales
Coventry University, Pump Priming
Nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) are areas of land draining into receiving waters that are currently high in nitrates and are subject to regulation under the Nitrates Directive (91/676/EEC). Currently only 2.4% of Wales are in NVZs, but the Welsh Government (WG) is considering increasing the size of this region. This research aims to assess the impact of this policy change on farmers through environmental, technical and economic perspectives. The research involved the development of bilingual farm questionnaires and on farm impact assessments in different parts of Wales to predict the possible effects of the proposed legislation. The key objective is to produce a report detailing farmer views on policy impact which may have significance outcomes for Welsh policy making and the interaction of the WG with Welsh farmers.
The project was co-designed and developed by a former Welsh farmer (who is also a Researcher at Coventry University) along with other CAWR farm economics, agroecological and social scientists in co-operation with current Welsh farmers, Natural Resources Wales, water companies and other critical stakeholders. The result was a wide ranging and highly pertinent questionnaire and farm impact assessment methodology which has produced a report which reflects the Welsh farming voice in response to NVZ policy impact. The report, and subsequent conversations with WG, will hopefully influence thinking and decision making at the highest levels and be a powerful demonstration of the critical role participatory approaches to policy development can play.