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Farmers deny river pollution claims

FARMERS LAST week hit back at water company claims that they were doing nothing to stop contaminated water from running off their fields and polluting water courses (NCE last week).

National Farmers Union chief countryside advisor Andrew Clarke said that some of his members had already installed 'buffer zones' to filter run off from fields running next to watercourses.

Buffer zones are uncultivated strips of grassland that soak up rainfall run-off from fields.

These prevent soil erosion and flood risk.

Watercourse pollution must be cut for Britain to meet the demands of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). This demands that watercourses reach ecological 'good status' by 2015 (News last week).

Clarke told the Environment Food & Rural Affairs select committee that the government recently launched four European Union subsidised pilot schemes to encourage development of buffer zones.

The subsidies are being brought in to replace subsidies for farm produce as part of a government-driven change to push farming practice toward conservation.

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