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Union Seeks Flexibility on Spreading and Storage

In light of the extreme rainfall that many parts of Scotland have endured this summer, NFU Scotland has been liasing with Scottish Government and SEPA on the problems being experienced with regards to slurry and manure storage and application.

While all farmers are obliged to store and spread slurry and manure in a responsible manner, the start of the closed period on spreading for many of those farming in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) has brought focus to the problem.

Scottish Government and SEPA state they are both well aware of the difficulties and are monitoring the situation closely.

NFU Scotland Environmental Policy Manager Andrew Bauer said:

“Given the atrocious weather, with many parts of the country receiving more than 170 percent of their average summer rainfall, the situation regarding slurry and manure storage and application has been problematic. We continue to field enquires from concerned members on a daily basis.

“We have approached the Scottish Government and SEPA and asked them to consider how to assist farmers in all the affected parts of Scotland, whilst minimising environmental risks.  We appreciate that there have been a number of derogations in recent years, but believe that the extreme conditions this summer and autumn warrant similar action.

“Both parties have responded and are well aware of the issues.  Their experience, to date, is that few farmers have contacted them regarding slurry spreading and storage difficulties and that most Scottish businesses have been managing to get slurry out during favourable weather or are finding alternative solutions.
 
“They have provided a useful reminder that if any business within the NVZ is experiencing difficulty they should, in the first instance, contact their local RPID area office. Any approach will be considered on a case by case basis. The authorities also accepted that if storage issues arise further into the NVZ closed periods, they will consider other options.

“If any farmers outwith the NVZ are experiencing problems they should contact SEPA in the first instance.  Farmers facing difficulties will be expected to work with SEPA to reduce the risk of similar problems occurring in future by producing and following a Farm Waste Management Plan.  That may help identify any slurry storage issues and how they can be addressed through clean/dirty water separation, alternative treatment systems or additional storage.”

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 111/12


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