Environment Agency Moves On Milk

UK - The British Environment Agency wants to hear from farmers facing problems with the disposal of uncollected milk as the big freeze continues to affect roads across England and Wales.
calendar icon 24 December 2010
clock icon 2 minute read
National Farmers Union

Those meeting strict criteria may be able to benefit from a relaxation of the rules on land spreading.

Spreading milk on snow or frozen land would normally be a breach of pollution and waste regulations because it can cause more harm than sewage if it flows into rivers, killing fish and other aquatic wildlife.

But, owing to the exceptional weather conditions, farmers who are unable to get their milk collected and have no storage arrangements, will be allowed to spread providing they contact the Environment Agency for advice first and meet the following criteria:

  • There is no alternative storage available, such as their own slurry lagoons or at a neighbour's farm.
  • There are no other environmentally acceptable options for disposal, such as through a sewage treatment works.
  • The spreading is unlikely to result in pollution and harm - only the lowest risk land with minimal slope that is at least 50 metres away from a watercourse is used to spread.
  • New guidance including advice on selecting the most appropriate land to spread to minimise pollution and to work safely should be read here.

Harvey Bradshaw, the Environment Agency’s Head of Business Performance and Regulation, said: "We know that many people are working hard to keep the milk supply chain working despite the current exceptionally cold weather.

“But there may be some areas where farmers are facing problems with milk collections and we want to help while still protecting the environment against pollution.

"Most farmers should have enough storage space to cope through the winter, but anyone who is facing surplus milk storage problems, or difficulties with other materials such as slurry, should contact their local Environment Agency office or call the Environment Agency’s helpline on 08708 506506 so we can advise on the best options available.”

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