Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) chairman Dei Davies has said that the current Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) regulations will "severely undermine" milk production, thus impacting milk processing in Wales.

Speaking after a meeting of the FUW Milk and Dairy Produce Committee on Wednesday (October 20), the newly appointed chairman from Moor Farm, Flintshire said:

As a committee we’ve welcomed the decision by the Senedd for the regulations to be reviewed and the FUW has submitted its written evidence.

“However, we mustn’t forget that the regulations in their current form will severely undermine milk production with implications for milk processing Wales.”

NVZ regulations

The Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) 2021 regulations are to revoke and replace the Nitrate Pollution Prevention (Wales) Regulations 2013, making the existing NVZ designations obsolete.

The Water Resources ‘NVZ’ Regulations were passed by the Senedd in March 2021, with the first set of changes being applied from April 1, 2021.

The Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Senedd Committee is currently in the process of reviewing the regulations following a vote shortly after new Senedd members were elected in May.

The FUW committee raised concerns that some milk processors may not have realised how significant these regulations will impact on the throughput of milk and production of other dairy products.

“Notwithstanding current supply chain issues and the consequential inflation of milk production costs, processors must recognise that if these regulations are not revised radically they may find themselves scraping the barrel to maintain current production levels,” said Mr. Davies.

FUW policy officer Elin Jenkins added: “Not only do milk processors support thousands of jobs in Wales, they also underpin our dairy supply chain by processing an estimated half of the milk produced in Wales (1 billion litres).”

The FUW Milk and Dairy Produce Committee suggested that milk producers should contact their milk collectors if they are in a position to do so urging them to make Senedd Members aware of the implications these regulations will have for dairy processing, local jobs and the economy.