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Title: The effect of the voluntary initiative on water quality
Author: B. Lascelles
Author: L. Turley
Author: J. Davies
Author: L. Knight
Author: M. Kelly
Author: E. Pemberton
Author: N.C. Wells
Author: Environment Agency
Document Type: Monograph
Annotation: Environment Agency Project ID:EAPRJOUT_1585, Representation ID: 1, Object ID: 1322
The Voluntary Initiative (VI) is the industry-led alternative approach to a pesticide tax, and provides an important opportunity for the farming industry to demonstrate that it can reduce the environmental impacts of using pesticides. The Environment Agency plays an active role in the VI as a member of the independent steering group that oversees progress, assisting with individual projects and developing indicators for success. The original intention of the project had been to monitor prior to the implementation of any VI measures, to establish a baseline from which to observe any environmental improvements. However, significant delays in the selection of the farms meant that they had already implemented measures designed to minimise the environmental impacts of pesticide use, such as conservation headlands and improved control over pesticide handling procedures. It was therefore not possible to determine a baseline, and the original study plan was revised. Detailed chemical and biological water quality monitoring was undertaken on the three farms to provide an indication of the water quality at each farm. The results of this ‘scoping study’ indicate that there is no obvious impact on the aquatic environment as a consequence of pesticide use, with the invertebrate faunas of all the watercourses considered to be typical. However, the results do show that both pesticide handling areas and pesticides applied on fields can be a source of pesticides to the aquatic environment. This project provides an indication of the current state of the local aquatic environment of the three farms. It shows that the protocol for monitoring the effectiveness of the VI would be, with some amendments, appropriate for use on other farms, although particular emphasis should be placed on careful farm selection. The farms monitored for this project had good to very good biological water quality and a low frequency of pesticide detection. This suggests that there is little value in continuing to monitor water quality at these locations with respect to the aims of the original project.
Publisher: Environment Agency
Subject Keywords: RiversEnvironmental protectionWater qualityBiological surveysPesticidesAgricultural pollutionEnvironmental impact
Geographic Keywords: British IslesEnglandWales
Extent: 151
Total file downloads: 294

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