SEPA Support for Sensible Slurry Disposal

UK - NFU Scotland has been working with enforcement authorities to find a common-sense solution to the temporary problem of slurry storage and disposal on Scottish livestock farms caused by the extreme cold weather.
calendar icon 8 January 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

The prolonged cold snap has made it impossible for livestock producers to comply with the current rules that prohibit the spreading of livestock slurry on ground that is either frozen or covered with snow. We are now entering the third week in which virtually all of Scotland’s farmland has been has been affected and some slurry stores on farms are nearing capacity.

For those farmers in areas not affected by Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) legislation, the enforcement agency is SEPA. Discussions between NFUS and SEPA have seen the agency recognise that where stores are full, a farmer has little choice but to spread slurry. Before this happens, the farmer must contact his local SEPA office.

In the NVZ areas, the enforcement authority regarding slurry disposal is the Scottish Government. NFU Scotland discussions with Scottish Government officials have yet to identify a pragmatic solution to alleviate the pressure on those livestock keepers in the NVZs.

NFU Scotland Policy Director, Scott Walker said: “The long-running cold snap is causing a real headache for those farmers needing to dispose of slurry from their stores while at the same time continuing to comply with the relevant legislation.

“We welcome the common-sense approach shown by SEPA in recognising the problems faced by those farmers operating in the non-NVZ areas. For those farmers struggling for slurry storage, they must contact their local SEPA office and explain their situation and circumstances before they spread.

“We have yet to get the Scottish Government to agree to a similar approach being taken in NVZ areas. That is disappointing and we will continue to discuss the matter with officials in the hope that this can be resolved.”

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