NFUS Host Q&A on Slurry Storage Grant in Collaboration with SEPA

Last week we hosted a Twitter Q&A session answering your most common queries around the AECS slurry storage grant. In case you missed it, here is a summary of the questions our members most wanted to know about. Thanks to SEPA, RPID and Farming and Water Scotland for their support for our very first #AskNFUS 

Question One: “When in previous years has SGRPID confirmed if slurry applications have been successful?”
Answer: “In previous rounds the results of applications could only be announced after budget was confirmed, normally late December. For the 2023 round results will be notified as soon as the application has been processed.”

Question Two: “Can we get any assurance that it will be quicker this year to maximise the time-frame for applicants to get the work done before the deadline?”
Answer: “Our understanding is all successful applicants will be awarded a contract in April 2023 for completion by 28/02/24. They will not be able to defer the work into a future financial year, so the aim is to process and issue contracts to successful applicants ASAP to maximise the time frame available to complete the project. Click here for more information.”

Question Three: “Do I need planning permission or a building warrant?”
Answer: “For grant payment a building warrant will be required, where applicable. This will depend on the local planning authority with respect to what their requirements are for farm developments. They may require both planning and building warrants but as far as we are aware SGRPID will only require a building warrant when applicable. If the relevant Local Authority do not require a building warrant then written confirmation of that should be sought. It would be best for the applicant to contact their Local Authority direct on whether building warrant and planning application would be required for the development.”

Question Four: “I got ‘seep’ for slurry in 2012. I have bought another neighbouring farm since, do I quality as slurry storage is a huge investment!”
Answer: “As you have received funding in 2012 from the previous slurry storage grant scheme you would be ineligible this time round. Guidance states – Holdings must not have received funding for slurry under Rural Priorities from the 2007-2013 Scottish Rural Development Programme or under AECS. A holding in this context means all the production units farmed by the applicants business.”

Question Five: “We are setting up a new dairy farm but would like to apply for slurry storage grant. We will be milking in Summer 2023, will we be eligible for a grant?”
Answer: “This is not a straightforward answer, but currently the grant scheme does not allow changing from a straw bedded system to a slurry system. So to be eligible to apply you need now to be farming on a slurry based system. Also, it does not allow for additional slurry storage provision for an increase in stock numbers – therefore your dairy cow herd in the summer 2023 would be restricted to the same number of livestock you are currently farming on your holding. An application may be considered in a future round when the business/enterprise is considered to be established and all the facts are known, provided all other eligibility criteria are met.”

Question Six: “£30,000 per farm business isn’t very much and won’t contribute to the whole cost of constructing a slurry store”
Answer: “That is correct - the funding provides a contribution towards the costs of increasing the slurry storage capacity on your farm, not the full financial cost. The funding contribution is available towards the costs of building the store itself and also the necessary ancillary fittings and assemblies, reception tank and transfer pumps where relevant. Note that grant aid is not available for slatted tanks. All costs are based on the published standard costs listed in the asset here.”

Question Seven: “How do I know whether a slurry lagoon is right for me?”
Answer: “This is a decision the business needs to take weighing up the pros and cons of a lagoon against an above ground slurry store; An earthbank lined lagoon is financial the cheapest option but may not be the best option for the farm. We would suggest you speak to other farmers who operate a slurry lagoon and ask their experiences. Here's a few things to consider when making the decision:

  • Land Take: Lagoons require a larger land take than an above ground store for the same storage capacity
  • Freeboard Requirements: Lagoons have a greater freeboard requirement of 750mm compared to a store of 300mm
  • Local Rainfall: A lagoon will have a larger surface area, and therefore will collect more rainfall. 
  • Ground Water Levels: This can cause liners to float.
  • Day to day operations and management
  • Robustness of storage system”. 
Question Eight: “Do I have to knock down and replace my pre-1991 store to qualify for AECS funding?”
Answer: “No, if your pre-1991 store is in good structural condition and is impermeable (not leaking) it can still be used. As the slurry grant is a competitive scheme, applicants knocking down and replacing a pre-1991 store will be allocated a high weighting than those applying for additional slurry storage and retaining a pre-1991 store. Find more information on maintaining slurry storage here.”

Question Nine: “Can I fill in an AECS application without a consultant?”
Answer: “Yes, a consultant is not required. A farmer can apply for funding, all they would need to do is produce a farm drainage plan, and a manure and slurry management plan. SGPRID have provided a slurry calculator which will work out your slurry storage needed based on farm information. There is also guidance available on how to use the calculator, step by step guides on how to prepare a slurry and manure management plan and farm drainage plan. More information here.”

Question Ten: “If I’m building a new slurry store or lagoon, is there a requirement to have it covered?”
Answer: “There are no requirements for new or existing slurry systems to have covers, however there are benefits in having or installing a cover when building a store: Financially it is cheaper to install a cover at the time of construction & also reduces the amount of rainwater a farmer collects. From an emissions perspective, having a cover reduces the emission of ammonia significantly.”

We hope this has been useful. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions - if there's still something you are still unsure about please don't hesitate to get in touch with us or email SEPA at

Author: Emy Dyer

Date Published:

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