Anglian Water launches pesticide amnesty for Norfolk farmers

A crop sprayer in mid Norfolk. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A crop sprayer in mid Norfolk. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A confidential 'pesticide amnesty' will offer Norfolk farmers the chance to get rid of redundant or unapproved chemicals free of charge.

Anglian Water has launched the initiative to collect stores of out-of-date or unwanted pesticides which could otherwise be difficult or expensive to dispose of, in an effort to protect water courses from the risk of unintended contamination.

The amnesty will run from December 1 until the end of January for farms in the Blackwater (Reepham) sub-catchment of the River Wensum – a watercourse which supplies drinking water to Norwich and the surrounding area after treatment at the Heigham Water Treatment Works.

Rob Holland, Anglian Water's catchment advisor for Norfolk, said: 'Pesticides are a vital part of the modern farm business and we know that farmers in Norfolk do all they can to use and store them responsibly.

'However, there are often pesticides left over at the end of the season and sometimes these can go out of date. There are also chemicals which were bought legitimately but which have now been withdrawn from the market. These unwanted chemicals could pose a risk to water quality if they are not disposed of properly.

'Although we can remove many chemicals from raw water before we put it into supply a far more sustainable, long-term solution is to work alongside farmers to reduce the chance of pesticides getting into the water in the first place.

'As well as initiatives like this, our advisory team are meeting hundreds of farmers to help them protect water quality. This could include changing the way chemicals are applied or swapping some of the more tricky pesticides for alternatives that break down quicker.'

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Mr Holland highlighted a group of farmers who are already working together in the Upper Wensum valley, around Fakenham, to improve environmental aspects of their farms, including water quality.

Farmers can check if they are in the target area by calling Rob Holland on 07802 856872. There is no charge for the service and details of collections will remain confidential. To book a collection call David Brown of ChemClear Ltd on 07436 077304 or email