According to the Environment Agency, milk is 400 times more polluting than raw sewage, with the ability to strip oxygen from a stream. “We’ve had some major pollution incidents over the summer [in Wales] – but not associated with milk,” an Agency spokesman told edie, explaining their concern to prevent further pollution.

“If farmers are faced with such a predicament, they are urged to follow the advice of the Code of Good Agriculture Practice,” said Bob Merriman, Rural Land Use Officer for Environment Agency Wales.

The Code points out that milk can be fed to livestock, or spread onto land using the same precautions as would be taken in spreading slurry, though in some situations mixing slurry and milk can give off lethal or explosive gases.

Dairy farmers have started to be affected by the fuel crisis, Thomas Hind, Assistant Milk Advisor at the National Farmers’ Union, told edie. There have been reports of farmers in the North West, and in South Wales who have been unable to have their milk collected. Though farmers appear to have fuel stocks, said Hind, the main issue has been with the dairies who have been unable to get the packaging to put milk into. “The Dairy Industry Federation have said that the crisis point will be tomorrow [15 September],” said Hind.

“Many rivers in Wales having recovered from historical pollution by agriculture and industry, are now vital to the local economy,” said Merriman. “Even the smallest streams can be important as fisheries. Protecting such habitats is also essential in helping support the economies of rural communities. If any farmers want any more guidance, please contact us before taking any actions.”

The Code of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Water is available from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF), the National Assembly for Wales, and from the Environment Agency.

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