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July 9, 2008 3:00 PM

Local MP Tim Farron has expressed his disappointment that the Government will not help British farmers in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones to meet the huge new cost s that new regulations will bring.

The news came after Mr Farron, who is also the Chairmen of All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming questioned the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about whether they would provide a grant for farmers towards the cost of slurry storage facilities following the implementation of the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones Directive.

The Directive was introduced after it emerged that nitrate levels in both ground and surface waters remained increasingly high. Over 60% of nitrate enters water from agricultural land, leading to concerns about the level of pollution in land across the UK.

The Directive means that farmers in the designated zones will have to increase their slurry storage capacity, which will mean investing in much larger slurry tanks at an average cost of around £30,000 per farm. The Government are refusing to provide any funding to help already hard-up farmers with this enormous new cost.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The Government say that they are concerned that giving grants to farmers in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones would result in higher supply prices; yet they are more than prepared to let the local farmer pay the costs".

"This new cost will be unaffordable to many farmers at an already difficult time for them. It is surely right that at the very least, the Government provide some form of grant support to ease the burden. I am appalled that they have refused.