ICMSA: Water quality improvements need to be acknowledged

Commenting on the release of the EPA Water Quality Report for 2020, the President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack has said that while challenges remain, it is important that the improvements in water quality are acknowledged

Mr. McCormack said: “To listen to some commentators, one could easily get the impression that farmers are not making efforts to improve water quality and nothing could be further from the truth.

“Over the last number of years, there has been a growing focus on water quality and other environmental issues at individual farm level and at industry level, initiatives such as ASSAP, GLAS, TAMS are all contributing towards improved water quality and other environmental indicators.

“There are challenges which farmers will tackle, but there are also positives including 89 percent of rivers have satisfactory BOD values, 71 percent of rivers have satisfactory P levels, 53 percent of rivers have satisfactory N levels and if compared to our EU counterparts, Ireland is in a good position”.

ICMSA is concerned that the efforts of the agriculture sector are not being acknowledged and recognised and says that calls increased regulation is not the answer.

“Programmes such as ASSAP are delivering results without regulation and the concentration now should be on working with farmers on practical measures to further improve water quality through a new agri-environment scheme and avoid excessive regulation that are unpractical and will not deliver the desired results

“Challenges remain but progress is being made, this needs to be acknowledged and working with the agricultural sector is a way forward rather than a hammer approach of regulation,” Mr. McCormack concluded.