Dip inspection blitz…
A TWO-MONTH inspection blitz on farms dipping sheep in the Cumbria area will start next month, says the Environment Agency.
Inspectors will check on the use and disposal of synthetic pyrethroid-based sheep dips, as well as giving farmers pollution prevention advice.
The SP sheep dips are up to 100 times more deadly to river life than the older organophosphate dips. A medium size Cumbria sheep farm, uses enough SP dip in a year to potentially pollute the whole of Loweswater, the agency warned.
In the past two years, 200km (125 miles) of Cumbria rivers have been affected by sheep dip chemicals, which wipe out river-born insects for hundreds of metres downstream, depriving fish and other wildlife of a vital food source.
The two-month blitz begins around Carlisle and Wigton area before moving to Cockermouth, Keswick, Kendal and the rest of Cumbria.
Joanne Forster, protection officer for the agency, said it was important for farmers to understand that small amounts of SP dips were lethal to insects which played a key role in the eco-systems of rivers.
"It is important that we have the co-operation of sheep farmers, farming unions, suppliers and other relevant groups to improve sheep dipping practices," she said.