Access to data
AIC members develop a range of interactive tools and data systems to inform decision making and on-farm recommendations. Government agencies are also making steps to improve industry access and data to information about local, as well as national issues in relation to the environment.
What’s In Your Backyard
The Environment Agency (EA) has developed an interactive mapping tool, 'What's In Your Backyard', to provide professional advisers and farmers with information and data about the environmental state of water bodies. Against a backdrop of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and its associated regulations and initiatives, the rationale behind developing WIYBY is to provide a platform where the EA can share data and information on particular water issues at the local level, with a view to minimising impacts on water quality. Therefore WIYBY is proving to be useful to professional advisers in the development of on-farm recommendations and elements such as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs), Crop Protection Management Plans and Soil Management Plans.
In developing WIYBY the EA decided to focus on the most widespread water quality issues in relation to agriculture including pollution by diffuse nitrates, diffuse phosphates, diffuse sediment and diffuse pathogens (shown by faecal indicator organisms or FIOs). The tool can be used to identify water quality issues and also signposts to solutions and further information.
Please note that priority waters at risk from pesticides are not included as part of this tool. Information on the risks from pesticides and what can be done to reduce these risks can be found at the Voluntary Initiative’s (VI) website - www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk.
Regional environmental priority maps
Natural England (NE) has developed regional maps which highlight priorities for resource protection and biodiversity, with particular reference to Environmental Stewardship (ES) options as part of current agri-environment schemes. As the New Environmental Land Management Schemes (NELMS) are being developed for launch in 2015, new maps will evolve.