This spring we trialed a pesticide amnesty on the Fowey catchment which was a huge success! We gave farms in the River Fowey catchment a safe and confidential way to remove banned and out of date pesticides therefore reducing the risk of a pollution event occurring. Some of the chemicals we collected were over 30 years old and posed a potential hazard to the environment through leaching from degraded containers or the potential inappropriate methods of disposal to save paying for removal. There is also the possibility of the pesticides being applied in error or using products that are no longer appropriate due to their age and potentially banned active ingredients. The pesticide amnesty removed this risk from the catchment.

Matt Healey, Catchment officer for the Fowey had this to say, “The amnesty worked on a number of levels and enabled engagement with landowners that previously had no contact with WRT as well as removing high risk products. Some of the products had been “inherited” from previous landowners and the amnesty gave a perfect opportunity to remove these forgotten about at the back of the shed chemicals and have them disposed of safely”.

In the month the amnesty ran we collected over 110 kilos, just from the Fowey catchment. We are now looking to extend this service across all our catchments as part of our Upstream Thinking project. Upstream Thinking is South West Water’s multi-award-winning catchment management scheme which has been applying natural landscape-scale solutions to water quality issues since 2008. The current programme is being delivered through a partnership of the Westcountry Rivers Trust, South West Water, the Devon Wildlife Trust, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, and the Exmoor National Park Authority