ABSTRACT

One consequence of the technological revolution in dairy farming, though, has been a much greater volume of effluents to be handled, which involves farmers in additional costs, as well as in tasks that are unpleasant and often hazardous. By the early twentieth century, rural preservation had become a significant force in British politics, dedicated to protecting nature and the countryside from industrial advance. Formal recognition of pollution problems and legislation to address them may, however, be poor indications of what is actually happening “out in society”, or “on the ground”. The study focuses on how the phenomenon of pollution and ways of solving it were constituted. Evidence of mounting farm pollution incidents and of deteriorating river quality helped politicize the problem of farm wastes in a political context charged by the prospect of water privatization and by the challenges to the narrowly productivist aims of agriculture following the European Community’s imposition of milk quotas.