The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is to suggest to the Government that much of the park should escape controls on the use of nitrate fertilisers because the area's low-intensity farming provides no threat to rivers and streams.
As we discussed in A week in the Country, the problem of water pollution from nitrates is becoming a highly controversial rural issue and their use may be widely restricted under an EU directive. However, the YDNPA says they represent little danger in the Dales.
Gary Smith, the park's head of conservation commented: "Our assessment is that, at the moment, nitrate use in the national park does not pose a significant risk to the area's ground water.
"We are, therefore, concerned about the additional cost to farmers of complying with the directive, which could be the final straw for some local farm businesses which have been severely tested in the last few years.
"If the measures are introduced in the park it could also lead to increases in the number and size of slurry storage facilities to the detriment of the special scenic quality and landscape of the area. We are therefore backing the option that should exempt most, if not all, of our farmers."