Agriculture bucks trend by reducing pollution incidents

The farming industry was responsible for 6% less incidents than the previous year
The farming industry was responsible for 6% less incidents than the previous year

The latest quarterly figures on serious pollution incidents in England show agriculture bucked the trend in 2018/19 as the only sector to cause fewer incidents than in 2017/18.

Environment Agency data for the final quarter of 2018/19 shows that the industry was responsible for 6% less incidents than the previous year.

The number of incidents where a cause was not found also fell by 16%.

At 59, the total number of incidents in agriculture was also lower than any other sector in 2018/19, including water companies (63), Illegal waste management (77) and other regulated industry sectors (103).



The greatest number of incidents resulted from other non-regulated industry sectors (129).

The prolonged dry weather during 2018, which allowed farmers to enter the winter with empty slurry stores, is believed to have played a part in the reduction.



Most agricultural incidents resulted from dairy and livestock farming (31), followed by intensive farming (22), arable and horticulture (5) and other/unspecified (1).

Two incidents related to odour at intensive farming sites, one to a leak from an intensive farming effluent collection system and the others relate to problems with dirty water systems.

There were no incidents as a result of full slurry stores, though one involved a leak from a new slurry store.

The NFU said it will continue to work with its members and regulators to further reduce the number of pollution incidents from agriculture over the coming years.