Environmental group calls for buffer zones to keep cattle away from water

Several beaches closed this summer

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has been urged to establish buffer zones to keep cattle away from streams, rivers and lakes following repeated closures of bathing waters this summer. Photograph:
Eric Luke

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has been urged to establish buffer zones to keep cattle away from streams, rivers and lakes following repeated closures of bathing waters this summer. Photograph: Eric Luke

Thu, Aug 15, 2013, 01:00


Friends of the Irish Environment has called on Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to establish buffer zones to keep cattle away from streams, rivers and lakes following repeated closures of bathing waters this summer.

Cork County Council closed two beaches to swimmers at Tragumna and Kilcrohane last week, following the discovery of higher than normal levels of enterococcus bacteria. It said wet weather had caused run-off from surrounding lands. Both beaches were reopened yesterday as results were back in compliance with EU regulations.

In June, swimming was banned at Fountainstown, south of Cork city, while advisory notices were also placed at three beaches in west Cork around the same time. Flash flooding in the area was blamed.

Tony Lowes of Friends of the Irish Environment said climate change suggested there would be more flooding events in the coming years. He said this would exacerbate the problem of faecal contamination of some of our best beaches and would also damage Ireland’s reputation as a safe and clean holiday destination.

“Under current regulations there is no exclusion zone for cattle from our rivers and streams and lakes. They are allowed to enter water bodies and contaminate the water with faeces that may contain not only e.coli but cryptosporidium.

“Simon Coveney is both Minister for Agriculture and TD for the [Cork] area. He supports farmers in their role as guardians of the countryside. He must also ensure they accept their responsibility as guardians of our water quality,” he said.