ABSTRACT

The 1989 Water Act gave the new National Rivers Authority significantly enhanced powers to tackle agricultural pollution, including controls for the first time over the storage of farm waste. The South West of England was one of the smaller nra regions, having 531 staff. Bob is responsible for pollution control in the catchments of two large rivers set in a rural area expanding in population. Pollution Inspectors such as Bob were the regulators of farm pollution. However, most of their work was not the formal enforcement of pollution law. The crucial difference with the past was that prosecution was now regarded as an active option, reinforced by internal and external pressures on the nra to take a firm stance against pollution and its perpetrators. Charged to tackle farm pollution, nra Pollution Inspectors had been armed with new legal powers and the moral authority of the environmental movement.