Eight in 10 farmers receiving advice from the government’s Catchment Sensitive Farming service have seen improvements in water quality on their land or benefited financially, a new report published today (14 October) shows.
Nearly 20,000 farms – equivalent to 34 per cent of England’s total farmland – have received advice from CSF officers since the partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England began in 2006 in a drive to tackle water pollution from agriculture.
The report published today evaluates the first 12 years of the advice service, showing that participating areas have seen reductions in a number of agricultural pollutants – with nitrogen levels down by 4%, phosphorus levels down by 8%, and a 12.3% reduction in sediment.
Alongside improving water quality, farmers also reported seeing other benefits on their farm, such as an improved reputation after taking steps to become more environmentally friendly, or making savings on fertiliser costs by only applying the nutrients their soil actually needs.
For more than a decade the network of trained CSF advisers have helped farmers across the country implement more than 75,000 actions to reduce water pollution on their land – from changing the way they apply pesticides to building new infrastructure to preventing pollutants from reaching waterways.