Chemical amnesty takes hundreds of litres of potentially harmful unwanted substances

A month long scheme to help farmers near Brighton get rid of stores of unwanted and out of date chemicals such as pesticides has led to 675 litres of potentially harmful liquids and 45 kilograms of granules being turned in.

Without intervention chemicals can potentially leak and end up in ground water causing damage to the environment and requiring extra treatment to ensure we are compliant with the drinking water quality standards.

Some 19 farms in the Worthing and Brighton area took part in the scheme in December – the first Southern Water has run. Following the success, a second scheme is being launched in the Medway area – co-funded by the Environment Agency and North Kent Marshes Internal Drainage Board. 

“Many farmers end up with out-of-date or unwanted chemicals in store and it can be costly or awkward to dispose of them. The longer they sit about, the greater the risk that they will leak and potentially end up in the ground water which we treat to put into drinking water supply,” said Robin Kelly, Catchment Risk Officer at Southern Water.

“Paying for some to be removed is a no-brainer for us – doing good is good business. The farmer saves money and we ensure that our catchment is protected,” he added.

The amnesty  – which saw more than 136 different pesticide products collected –  also helped Southern Water catchment experts to engage with farmers and land-owners about the vital role they play in ensuring the health of habitats and water supplies and foster positive relationships.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.