Clock Ticking on NVZ Slurry Storage Requirements

NFU Scotland is urging all livestock farmers within Scotland’s Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) to ensure that they have the required slurry storage on their farm before the three-year exemption period for storage runs out on 1 January, 2012.

The NVZ Action Programme rules mean that by this date, producers in NVZs must have minimum storage requirements of 26 weeks for pig slurry and 22 weeks storage for cattle slurries.  Failure to comply by 1 January 2012 could, at inspection, be viewed as a Single Farm Payment cross-compliance breach and so attract a penalty.

The Union understands that there are at least 100 known livestock farms within the NVZ areas that still have insufficient slurry storage for their current livestock levels to meet the Action Programme requirements. 

The Union also warns producers that not only is time getting tight for compliance, but also the availability of funding through Rural Priorities to help finance slurry storage projects is fast running out.

NFU Scotland Vice President Allan Bowie said:

“If you are in an NVZ area and face the prospect of not having enough storage capacity for your stock to comply with the rules, then you must look at all your options and act now because the clock is ticking.

“With funding and time getting tighter, there is an urgent need for every livestock farmer in NVZ areas to ensure they have the required slurry storage for their livestock by the end of the year.  Failure to do so means that, on inspection, they may be viewed as non-compliant and open the business up to penalties being attached to support payments.

“The three-year transitional arrangement on slurry provided a period of grace for those needing to invest in their storage facilities to comply with NVZ rules.  That period now has only nine months to run.

“Many producers needing to increase their slurry storage have done so – or are planning to do so - with the aid of Rural Priorities funding.  Anyone who has approved Rural Priorities funding for addressing their slurry storage requirements really should be cracking on with the work.

“For those without funding, but still facing a severe compliance issue in a matter of months, Rural Priorities is now unlikely to offer a solution.  With budgetary pressures kicking in, there are likely to be few, if any, funding rounds for such proposals this year.

“For those in the position of having no funding application in place but needing to address slurry storage issues to comply with NVZ rules, the alternatives are few.  They face a significant level of unsupported financing to fund the investment in storage or can take action to ensure existing storage capacity is sufficient by reducing their livestock numbers.

“Given the pressure on farm businesses and the level of investment likely to be needed to erect or adapt slurry storage, we would hope that banks will be sympathetic to those businesses who approach them for any loan needed to fund the investments needed to comply with NVZ rules.”  


  • The Action Programme for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (Scotland) Regulations 2008 came into force on 1 January 2009.
  • The NVZ Action Programme rules require producers in NVZs to have minimum storage requirements of 26 weeks for pig slurry and 22 weeks storage for cattle slurries.
  • However, producers could apply for an exemption from this requirement until they had sufficient storage or by 1 January 2012 at the very latest.  Anyone that needed to take advantage of this exemption was to provide written notification to their SGRPID area office by 31 January 2009.  The exemption was then to be renewed by 1 January each year.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006



Date Published:

News Article No.: 61/11

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