FOUR UK farmers have been fined this week for causing water pollution with sheep dip.
An incident involving sheep dip killed over 5,000 rare white-clawed crayfish in Cumbria’s River Mint last year, a hearing at Kendal Magistrates’ Court revealed on Tuesday (June 14).
A farmer was fined £1,500 for causing the pollution and ordered to pay a further £1,409 in costs to the Environment Agency, which brought the prosecution.
Three Ceredigion farmers were fined a total of £1,250 at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on the same day after pleading guilty to polluting local streams with cypermethrin sheep dip.
They were also ordered to pay legal costs of £1,250.
The Cumbrian incident was caused by sheep not having been given an adequate ‘draining off’ period after being dipped.
Ideally, sheep should be kept away from ditches, streams and rivers for two weeks after dipping. Otherwise, the dip from their fleeces can cause serious pollution problems, according to the EA.
The Welsh incidents all involved applied sheep dip draining into nearby water streams and virtually wiping out all invertebrate life there.
“Most farmers use sheep dip responsibly, but even the tiniest amount can have a disastrous effect on crayfish and similar creatures if the dip gets into rivers and streams,” said EA officer Jon Mellor.
“We’d like to remind anyone who keeps sheep to take particular care when dipping them.”