Letters issued to farmers

As part of the campaign to more specifically target communications and address the issues relating to metaldehyde detections in water, the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group issued a letter in September 2013 that has been sent to:

  • ALL farmers with land that falls within either a Drinking Water Protected Area (DWPrA), or an associated Safeguard Zone, and where the DWPrA has been identified by the Environment Agency as being ‘at risk’ of metaldehyde exceedance.

All those receiving the letter and accompanying leaflet are urged to take note and discuss the information with anyone responsible for applying slug pellets.

The letter is aimed at ensuring that all efforts are made to abide strictly by the MSG Guidelines within these areas.

What are Drinking Water Protected Areas? (also see

Drinking Water Protected Areas (DrWPAs) are water bodies where ‘raw’ water is abstracted for human consumption at a rate of at least 10m3/day or where over 50 people are served. Abstractions of raw water can be from reservoirs, rivers and groundwater.

Raw water quality needs to be improved in some DrWPAs to avoid the need for extra treatment at drinking water treatment plants. Wherever there is a risk of extra drinking water treatment being required the DrWPA is designated ‘at risk’. This does not mean there is a risk to our tap water. Tap water supplied by water companies in England and Wales is robustly regulated by the Drinking Water Inspectorate to ensure that it meets the required drinking water quality standards.

For ‘at risk’ DrWPAs we may establish Safeguard Zones. These non-statutory Safeguard Zones are areas where activities can impact adversely on the quality of water abstracted in the DrWPA. Action to address pollution is targeted in these zones so that extra treatment of raw water can be avoided. Safeguard Zones are a joint initiative between the Environment Agency and water companies. Safeguard Zones are one of the main tools for delivering the Drinking Water Protected Area objectives of the Water Framework Directive.

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