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Spy-in-the sky water pollution probe

[Wednesday 29 September 2010]

The Government is setting up a new in-depth investigation into the vexed question of how run-off from farms causes pollution which can cause serious damage to our rivers and streams. To pin-point exacts sources of pollution, scientists will use GPS satellite location equipment.

This is already a subject of major controversy, with farmers in some areas being ordered to cut down on their use of both artificial fertilisers and natural slurry by new EU directives.

These rules, imposed from Brussels, have caused widespread resentment but the difference with the new Defra investigation is that the farmers are being invited to take an important part by working with the scientists.

According to a Defra statement, “Farmers are getting involved in one of the largest studies of its kind to establish the best ways of halting water pollution from agriculture.”

Three tests areas have been marked out for the study, all of which have rivers famous to anglers, and it is the decline in fish stocks which provides a key indicator to water purity. They include the Eden in Cumbria and the Hampshire Avon.

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