NFUS Welcomes Pragmatic Approach to Spreading Regs

NFU Scotland has welcomed the announcement by SEPA today (Friday 21 October) that, for the foreseeable future, they will take a pragmatic approach to regulating the spreading of slurry and manure on waterlogged ground outwith Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs).

This announcement will be of some comfort to farmers who have been struggling to reduce slurry and manure volumes that are being kept in storage, due to wet conditions preventing spreading.

Any farmer outwith the NVZs with less than 3 weeks slurry and/or manure storage left must:

  • Contact their local SEPA office by letter, e-mail or fax (or by telephone in urgent circumstances) and receive approval before they carry out any spreading.
  • Calculate how much slurry or manure requires to be spread in order to provide a three-week storage cushion.
  • Identify the lowest risk areas on the farm where the slurry or manure can be spread (the driest fields with less than 5 degrees slope; ideally with no watercourses as boundaries, but failing that at least 30 metres away from the nearest watercourse).
  • Spread the slurry or manure in a way that minimises the risk of pollution.

Andrew Bauer, Policy Manager for NFU Scotland said:

“While SEPA has made no guarantee that it will grant approval for spreading in every case, it has made a commitment to strike a balance between a pragmatic approach and ensuring that the environmental risks are being managed effectively.

“This approach will be warmly welcomed by farmers who have been unable to spread for some time due to waterlogged soils.

“SEPA has indicated that where a farm has less than six months slurry storage, it may require the production of, and adherence to, a Farm Waste Management Plan in order to minimise the risk of needing to spread onto waterlogged and/or frozen ground in the future.

“It is important to remember that slurry and manure spreading in the NVZs is regulated by the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID), not SEPA.

If farmers in the NVZs face similar storage problems, they should contact their local SGRPID office as soon as possible to talk through the available options.”


Contact Wendy Fleming on 0131 472 4020



Date Published:

News Article No.: 170/11

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