Slurry Spreading Options in Non-NVZ Areas

NFU Scotland has been working with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) on assisting those livestock farmers in non-NVZ areas who are struggling to store and spread slurry in the ongoing wet weather.

With some areas having received 200 percent of their annual rainfall this year, there are some livestock farmers having difficulties with slurry storage capacity and finding a window in the weather when they can safely spread the slurry on fields.

In recognition of the problem, SEPA has produced a set of guidelines that would allow slurry to be applied in emergency and exceptional circumstance.  This would only apply to those in non-NVZ areas.  Within the NVZ areas – which accounts for 12 percent of Scotland - the rules on storage and spreading are applied by Scottish Government.  Here, NFUS would welcome similar flexibility being available.

The guidance would apply in emergency situations and exceptional circumstances where slurry stores are full to overflowing; where no other alternative route for spreading is available and also where there are potential welfare issues such as livestock standing in slurry.

SEPA’s requirements for those outwith the NVZ are:

  • Alternative spreading options have been explored
  • Requests to spread are made in writing
  • Stores may be emptied to allow 6 – 8 weeks capacity
  • Good practice when spreading is required regarding slope, distance from watercourses, application rates etc to avoid pollution.
  • A standard letter will be issued by SEPA.
  • Farmers will be reminded that spreading on waterlogged ground is an offence, but subject to no pollution taking place SEPA will not take enforcement action, due to the exceptional circumstances

NFU Scotland’s Environment and Land Use Policy Manager Andrew Bauer said:

“We welcome SEPA’s position and its recognition of how the exceptional circumstances are affecting farmers.  This approach only applies in non-NVZ areas but we will raise with Scottish Government again the need for RPID to adopt a similar understanding of the weather impact on slurry storage and spreading within NVZ areas.”


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 135/12

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