A Carmarthenshire farmer has been fined for persistently polluting a river

Cwrt Farm effluent in river

A farmer from Carmarthenshire has been sentenced for persistently polluting a river with farm effluent.

David Benjamin Huw Marks, of Cwrt Farm, Pentrecwrt, pleaded guilty to offences under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2016 when he appeared before court on 11 September 2020.

He was sentenced today (Thursday 15 October) at Llanelli Magistrates’ Courts and ordered to pay a total of £12,497.10 - a £6,000 fine, £6,327.10 costs and £170 victim surcharge.

Ioan Williams, Environment Team Leader for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said:

“There are regulations in place in Wales to protect our land and water that Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is responsible for upholding.
“We support farmers as much as possible to address non-compliance with regulations by offering advice and practical support on how they can reduce their risk of causing pollution.
“When something threatens the safety of our natural resources, or there is compelling evidence that regulations are being deliberately flouted, we will not hesitate in taking enforcement action.”

Mr Marks had failed to empty a silage tank regularly causing the tank to overflow and drain into the Afon Gwr Fach on three separate occasions between December 2017 and December 2018 (18 December 2017, 1 February 2018 and 11 December 2018).

Sewage fungus was found along the 0.75kkm length of the Afon Gwr Fach from Cwrt Farm to the confluence of the Teifi. The fungus had grown as a result of silage effluent running into the river.

The persistent pollution in the Afon Gwr Fach would have been poisonous or could have injured fish, spawning areas and food of fish.

It was evident that no previous warnings or advice given by NRW officers had been adhered to by the owners of the farm. Pollution of the watercourse had been allowed to continue.

Ioan Williams added:

“NRW works closely with all partners involved in the agricultural sector to minimise the risk of agricultural pollution from occurring. This work is coordinated by the Wales Land Management Forum sub-group. Improvements are being made and most farmers act responsibly in their waste and nutrient management practices.
“We recognise that sometimes things do go wrong, but we urge farmers that if they know they have caused pollution, to report it to us at NRW immediately by calling 0300 065 3000. The sooner we know about it, the sooner we can work with them to try and reduce the impact on the environment.”

To report a pollution incident call NRW on 0300 065 3000.

For more advice on safe agricultural practices and regulation visit the agriculture section of the NRW website.