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River Action’s Dairy Report

The intensification of the dairy industry has created a major environmental crisis.

With higher volumes of cows operating on decreasing hectares, and with milk yields per cow progressively increasing, the nutrient load being emitted by the industry has become one of the UK’s largest single polluters of our rivers.

The evidence collated by River Action demonstrates unequivocally that across the UK large numbers of dairy farms are in clear breach of environmental regulations, with slurry and silage mismanagement being the major cause of the problem.

These current practices of intensive livestock production are simply unsustainable, and all stakeholders involved have to act collectively and with urgency to end this blight on the natural world and our rivers in particular.

Dairy processors must reward better environmental performance through pricing incentives and retailers must insist on higher standards by adopting credible certification schemes. Government meanwhile has a critical role to play in helping dairy farms make a concerted effort to upgrade under-invested infrastructure and promote circular economy solutions to redeploying excess slurry to regions where it can be productively used. Finally, and most importantly our environmental regulators must step up and start to enforce regulations created to prevent pollution”

Charles Watson (Founder and Chair of River Action UK)


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