Earlier this year we embarked on a new project to tackle a significant problem facing both the farming and water industries – metaldehyde from slug pellets leaching into our reservoirs.

The Slug It Out campaign has an ambitious aim – to support farmers in exploring a practical alternative to metaldehyde on the farmland in the natural catchments around six reservoirs in our region.

We have now closed the window for applications and I’m very excited to announce that the 86 farmers we approached have all agreed to take part in the trial. You can read more on news pages here – http://www.anglianwater.co.uk/news/100-sign-up-in-uk-s-largest-ever-metaldehyde-free-farming-trial.aspx

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Our team of catchment advisors has met with farmers around Alton Water in Suffolk; Ardleigh Reservoir near Colchester; Hollowell Reservoir, Ravensthorpe Reservoir and Pitsford Water in Northamptonshire and Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire. They have been welcomed by the community and have had the chance to discuss the practical concerns faced by farmers when it comes to the control of pests, maintaining yields, irrigation and protecting water quality– this has been invaluable.

I want to thank all those who have signed up – you are taking part in a vitally important study to demonstrate that it is possible to reduce metaldehyde levels to below regulatory limits without adversely affecting yields.

We will now be keeping a close eye on the water quality in the area with regular tests and this will provide us with a robust set of evidence to show that this approach works. This will also gives the industry a strong hand when responding to further calls for regulation of pesticides in future.

With a better understanding of farming practices in the trial areas and greater collaboration with the local farming community we have the best chance yet of finding proactive solutions to the challenges facing both our industries.