Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

More agriculture & animal care topics

More agriculture and animal care guidance in alphabetical order

Additional resources

       

Animal and bird feed, even maize and wheat, can pollute watercourses such as rivers and streams.

You should control the amount of feed you give to animals and birds. You should ensure that all feed is consumed and that you minimise waste.

What you must do

You must ensure that the animal and bird feed you use does not cause a pollution incident. If you do not clear waste feed, it could get washed into watercourses and cause pollution.

Water pollution

Good practice

Manage your feed carefully

Monitor the amount of feed that your animals and birds consume and only feed them the amount they require.

This allows you to reduce the amount of waste feed that you produce. Managing your feed efficiently will help save you money.

Store feed safely

Store feed and waste feed away from watercourses and surface water drains. This will reduce your chances of causing a pollution incident.

Keep feed and waste feed dry and under cover. For example, you could roof your feed storage areas. This will reduce the likelihood of feed being washed into watercourses and drains.

Store feed within an impermeable bund, which can catch any spills.

Clear waste feed and clean up spills

Clear away any feed that is not eaten as soon as possible. This will help you to avoid problems with vermin, and will minimise the possibility of causing pollution.

If you spill feed or waste feed, you should sweep it up. Never wash or hose waste feed into drains or watercourses.

What you must do

Using waste as bedding

You must register an exemption from waste management licensing if you use any type of waste such as sawdust from untreated wood or shredded paper as bedding for your animals.

The exemption references are:

  • paragraph 16 exemption in Northern Ireland
  • paragraph 15 exemption in Scotland.

In Northern Ireland you do not need to register an exemption if your sawdust is made from virgin timber. Ask your supplier what it is made from.

The NIEA has published a regulatory position statement which explains when they consider wood to be waste.

NIEA: Regulatory position statement on the regulation of wood (Adobe PDF - 87KB)

Disposing of used bedding

Used animal bedding is waste. You should collect animal bedding separately to your other waste, as it may be considered offensive waste.

Your business is responsible for storing and transporting your waste materials safely and securely. You must ensure that your waste materials do not cause any land, water or air pollution.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

If you want to compost your animal bedding you may need to register an exemption from waste management licensing.

Waste management licensing

Further information on exemptions

If you operate under a registered exemption you must ensure that your activity does not:

  • endanger human health
  • cause pollution to water, air or soil
  • cause a risk to plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance in terms of noise or odour
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.

Northern Ireland: Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003, Schedule 2 list of exemptions

SEPA: Activities exempt from waste management licensing

Fertilisers can be a major cause of water pollution. They raise nutrient levels which causes excessive growth of algae and other aquatic plants in both rivers and the marine water environment.

What you must do

Do not allow fertilisers to enter watercourses such as rivers, streams, burns, lakes and lochs or drainage ditches. If you do, you may be committing a pollution offence.

Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) are designated areas that are particularly vulnerable to nitrate pollution.

In Northern Ireland all farmers must comply with rules under the Nitrate Action Programme Regulations and the Phosphorous Regulations.

Northern Ireland: Nitrate Action Programme Regulations

DAERA: Summary document – Nitrates Action Programme 2015-2018 and Phosphorus Regulations

In Scotland you should find out whether you are within an NVZ. If you are within an NVZ you will need to follow certain rules, such as limiting the amount of organic and inorganic nitrogen fertiliser you use and keeping records.

Scotland: nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs)

In Scotland you must not store any fertilisers:

  • within 10 metres of surface water or wetland
  • within 50 metres of any spring or borehole
  • on land that is waterlogged
  • on land with an average soil depth less than 40cm that overlies gravel or fissured rock.

In Scotland you must not apply organic fertilisers to:

  • land within 10 metres of any ditch, burn, river, loch, wetland or coastal water (on sloping ground a wider buffer zone maybe required)
  • land within 50 metres of any well, spring or borehole that supplies water for human consumption
  • land that is waterlogged or covered with snow
  • land with an average soil depth less than 40cm that overlies gravel or fissured rock

You must not apply livestock slurry on frozen land.

You must not apply inorganic fertilisers to land that:

  • is within 2 metres of any surface water or wetland
  • is within 5 metres of any well, spring or borehole that supplies water for human consumption or any well or borehole that is not adequately capped
  • has an average soil depth of less than 40 cm and overlies gravel or fissured rock
  • is frozen, waterlogged, or covered with snow.

In Scotland it is an offence to apply organic or inorganic fertiliser to land in excess of the nutrient needs of the crop.

SRUC: Storage and application of fertiliser

Good practice

Storage

You should store fertilisers:

  • under cover and away from combustible materials
  • where there is no risk of flooding
  • as far away as possible from watercourses or field drains
  • where the risks of vandalism and damage to tanks from vehicle movements are low.

Clean up any fertiliser spills immediately.

Bund your storage tanks. The bund should be able to hold the contents of the tank plus an extra 10%.

Inspect your tanks and pipework regularly (at least once a year) for signs of damage.

Lock valves shut on tanks if the fertiliser could empty when the valve is opened accidentally or as a result of vandalism.

Use storage tanks that are resistant to corrosion from liquid fertiliser. If you use a mild steel tank to store nitrogen fertilisers, you can protect it from corrosion by first filling it with a phosphate-containing fertiliser. This creates a protective layer on the inside of the tank.

Application

Do not apply fertilisers:

  • to waterlogged, flooded, frozen or snow-covered soil
  • to very steep slopes
  • if heavy rain is forecast.

Assess all fields on a regular basis for soil nutrient (phosphate and potash) and lime requirements. This allows you to match the amount of nutrient you apply in fertilisers to the need of the crop.

Calibrate spinning disc spreaders for the correct spread width to ensure even application of fertilisers to fields.

Watch our short videos:

How to protect soil and water on a farm

How to reduce costs on a farm

How to make good use of nutrients on a farm

Further information

The codes of good agricultural practice provide advice on how to prevent nitrates and phosphorous leaching from your fields into water.

In Northern Ireland, see the DAERA guidance on fertiliser controls.

DAERA: Nitrates Action Programme and Phosphorus Regulations 2015-2018 Guidance Booklet

In Scotland, see section 6 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.

Scottish Government: Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA Code) 2005 (Scotland)

Defra provides guidance for Northern Ireland on fertilisers:

Defra: Fertiliser manual (Northern Ireland)

The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) publishes two codes of practice for solid and liquid fertilisers.

Agricultural Industries Confederation: Fertiliser publications

PEPFAA nitrogen and phosphorous supplement (Scotland) (Adobe PDF 11KB)

DAERA: Guidance on the requirements of the Nitrates Action Programme 2015-2018 and Phosphorus Regulations

What you must do

In Scotland you must obtain a permit to introduce non-native species into aquaculture. You must also obtain a permit to move locally absent species (native) within Scotland, or to Scotland from elsewhere in the UK.

Eur-lex: Alien and locally absent species

Marine Scotland: Sea fisheries

In Northern Ireland, you must hold a licence from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency if you release or allow the escape into the wild of any fish or shellfish that are not native to Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Under general licence, you may release pacific oysters into the wild, including growing them in the open on the seabed.

If you farm manila clams that are kept under netting you do not need a licence, as this does not constitute a release into the wild.

Livestock feeds such as silage, brewer's grains and molasses can be highly polluting to rivers and other watercourses. Bacteria that are already present in the water use the feed to multiply and, at the same time, remove oxygen from the water. Without oxygen the fish and small insect life in the watercourse cannot survive.

What you must do

Never allow contaminated drainage from your feed storage or delivery areas to enter surface water drains, land drains or watercourses. If you do, you may be committing a pollution offence.

Good practice

Store feed and waste feed away from watercourses and surface water drains.

Cover the storage area to help minimise the amount of run-off water that you need to manage.

Pick up any spilt feed as soon as possible. Never hose down feed spills.

Store packaging from foodstuffs under cover before disposal.

If you are delivering feed through a pipeline, take special care that the pipeline does not leak. Locate the pipe so that if it does leak you minimise the risk of the feed entering a drain. Try to run pipelines above ground as far as possible, but position them so that you minimise the risk of accidental damage.

Watch our short video:

How to store materials on a farm

Fertilisers can be a major cause of water pollution. They can raise nutrient levels and cause excessive growth of algae and other aquatic plants in both rivers and the marine environment.

What you must do

Do not allow fertilisers to enter watercourses such as rivers, streams, burns, lochs and loughs or drainage ditches. If you do, you may be committing a pollution offence.

Good practice

Analyse the soil before you apply fertilisers so that you can judge the timing, method and rate of fertiliser application.

Limiting the amount of fertiliser that you use by carefully planning where you need it and how you will apply it, will save you money and reduce any negative environmental impacts.

Avoid storing large quantities of fertiliser; store only as much as you think you will use.

You should store fertilisers:

  • under cover, and away from combustible materials
  • where there is no risk of flooding
  • as far away as possible and at least 10 metres from watercourses or field drains
  • where the risks of vandalism and damage to tanks from vehicle movements are low.

Bund your storage tanks. The bund should be able to hold the contents of the tank plus an extra 10%.

Inspect your tanks and pipework regularly (at least once a year) for signs of damage.

Lock valves shut on tanks if the tank could empty when the valve is accidentally opened.

Use storage tanks that are resistant to corrosion from liquid fertiliser. If you use a mild steel tank to store nitrogen fertilisers, you can protect it from corrosion by first filling it with a phosphate-containing fertiliser. This creates a protective layer on the inside of the tank.

Clean up any spilt fertiliser immediately to prevent it entering or being washed into a drain or watercourse.

When you wash spreaders after use, do not allow the water to enter a drain or watercourse.

Familiarise yourself with the drainage surrounding the sites you work on so that you will be able to deal with any spills of fertiliser and minimise their effects.

Contact your environmental regulator in the event of a spill and take immediate action to contain the spill and prevent the contamination of watercourses.

PPG 21: Pollution incident response planning

When you wash spreaders after use, do not allow the water to enter a drain or watercourse.

Further information

The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) publishes two codes of practice for solid and liquid fertilisers.

Agriculture Industries Confederation

What you must do

Some crop flow devices on combine harvesters use a radioactive source. If your combine harvester uses a radioactive source, you must have a certificate of registration from your environmental regulator.

Radioactive substances and wastes

Contact your environmental regulator

Wastes such as oils, antifreeze and brake fluids, which are generated during the maintenance of agricultural machinery and vehicles, may need to be dealt with as hazardous/special waste.

Hazardous / special waste

When you dispose of vehicles which are classed as waste, ensure that you meet the requirements of the end-of-life vehicle legislation.

End-of-life vehicles

In Scotland, if you carry out machinery and vehicle maintenance activities that could cause water pollution, eg they are close to a watercourse, you must comply with certain General Binding Rules (GBR10 and GBR11).

SEPA: The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 20011 - A Practical Guide (Adobe PDF 540KB)

Good practice

Maintain your machinery and vehicles regularly to prevent leaks of oil and other fluids.

Never pour oils, antifreeze, brake fluids or other polluting liquids down drains. These are classified as waste and you should collect them in containers with secure lids and store them in a bunded area until they can be disposed of safely.

Your local garage may operate a collection scheme for oils, antifreeze and other fluids. If not, use the recycling directories or contact your local council to find out more about licensed collection sites in your area.

Find your nearest waste site

Contact your local council

This guidance covers all methods of applying sheep dip. It also covers the use of 'pour-on' products as these contain some of the substances that are also used in sheep dips.

You will need a permit or authorisation from your environmental regulator to dispose of sheep dip to land. You must comply with the conditions of your permit or authorisation in order to meet the cross compliance rules of the single farm payment scheme.

Cross compliance and agri-environment schemes

What you must do

Only use sheep dip chemicals that have been licensed as sheep dip by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. You must follow all of the instructions on the label.

You must never allow sheep dip to get into watercourses, drains, sewers or soakaways. If you do, you may be committing a pollution offence.

In Scotland you must not allow your sheep access to the water environment whilst there is a chance that sheep dip fluid could be transferred from their fleece.

If you operate a mobile sheep dipping facility or your fixed sheep dipping facility was constructed after 1st April 2008 then it must not be within 50 metres of any river, ditch, pond, freshwater loch, wetland, well, spring or borehole.

Your sheep dipping facilities must not:

  • discharge underground
  • leak
  • overspill.

You must not fill your sheep dipping facilities with water taken from the local water environment unless:

  • a device preventing back siphoning is fitted to the system
  • the water is first placed in an intermediate container.

You must empty your sheep dip facilities within 24 hours following completion of dipping.

SRUC: Operating sheep dipping facilities (Adobe PDF - 224KB)

You need a permit or authorisation from your environmental regulator before you dispose of sheep dip onto land. This applies even if you only dispose of small quantities of sheep dip, eg after using a sheep shower or jetter.

Preventing water pollution

Contact your environmental regulator

You must comply with the duty of care when you deal with agricultural waste such as sheep dip and dip containers.

If your containers and packaging can be rinsed you should follow the product label instructions, and rinse the container, the lid and foil seal. Place the rinsed foil seal inside the container. You can dispose of containers that have been triple rinsed and drained as normal waste.

If your containers cannot be rinsed, you must handle them as if they contain sheep dip. You should dispose of them as hazardous/special waste.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

Hazardous / special waste

Good practice

Only buy enough sheep dip concentrate to meet your immediate needs.

Always store unused sheep dip concentrate on plastic trays in a secure location, especially during dipping when it could get trampled.

Site sheep dipping facilities at least 10m from a watercourse and at least 50m from a well, spring or borehole.

You should inspect, test and repair all sheep dip baths before you use them. Your baths should have no leaks or drain holes.

In Northern Ireland the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's (DARD) Countryside Management Unit provides guidance on sheep dipping and cross compliance, which covers safe disposal of dip.

DAERA: Sheep dipping and cross compliance

In Scotland follow the good practice advice in SEPA's sheep dipping code.

SEPA: Sheep Dipping Code of Practice for Scottish Farmers, Crofters and Contractors (Adobe PDF 264KB)

Mix the sheep dip in the bath. Rinse the concentrate containers three times and empty the rinse water into the bath. Crush or place holes in the containers so they cannot be reused.

Do not overfill the bath. Leave room for the sheep to be dipped without the bath overflowing.

Provide draining-off pens with an impermeable base that drains back to the bath. Keep sheep in these pens for at least 10 minutes. In Scotland, you should hold the sheep in a field with no access to the water environment for a period of 24 hours or until their fleece is dry. This reduces the risk of polluting surface water.

Do not allow sheep into an area where they could come into contact with a watercourse, eg a stream or field drain, for at least two weeks after dipping. Sheep dip could wash out of the fleece during this period and cause major pollution. Provide an alternative source of drinking water for your sheep at this time.

If you use a mobile dip, only use farmyards if they have sealed drainage and collection systems. If you use field sites for mobile dipping make sure you:

  • choose a flat, established grassland or rough grazing site that has at least a spade's depth of topsoil, and preferably another 0.5m soil depth, above rock or thick clay
  • do not dip sheep when the site is flooded, waterlogged, frozen or compacted, or when the groundwater level is less than 1m below the surface.

Dispose of waste sheep dip as soon as possible after dipping. You can dispose of waste sheep dip by diluting it with three times the volume of water and then spreading it on land.

However you will need a permit or authorisation from your environmental regulator.

If you have to store sheep dip because conditions are unsuitable for spreading, you should use impermeable containers in a bunded area.

Further information

The following codes of good practice provide more guidance on sheep dip.

In Northern Ireland, see section 7 of the DARD code of good agricultural practice for water, air and soil.

DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil

Northern Ireland: Sheep dipper condition

In Scotland, see section 8 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.

SEPA: Sheep Dipping Code of Practice for Scottish Farmers, Crofters and Contractors (Adobe PDF 264KB)

If you make or store silage you must follow certain regulations if your storage facilities were constructed or substantially altered after:

  • 1 December 2003 in Northern Ireland
  • 1 September 1991 in Scotland.

Older storage facilities are normally exempt from the regulations. However, you may have to carry out improvement work if your environmental regulator considers that your facilities could cause pollution. You may not be able to use the structure until all necessary works are completed.

What you must do

Notify your environmental regulator in writing before you use new or substantially reconstructed or enlarged silage stores.

In Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) requires at least 28 days' notice.

In Scotland, SEPA requires at least 28 days' notice.

Contact your environmental regulator

Silo design and construction

You must design and construct your silos either:

  • in accordance with standards on cylindrical forage towers: in Northern Ireland the correct British Standard (BS) is BS 5061, and in Scotland it is BS 5502, or
  • in accordance with the requirements below.

If you don't use BS 5061 or BS 5502, you must:

  • Extend the base of the silo beyond the walls and include a perimeter drainage channel to collect silage effluent in a tank. If the walls are made of earth, you do not have to extend the base beyond the walls.
  • Provide a silage effluent tank with a minimum capacity of 3m3 per 150m3 of silo capacity for silos up to 1,500m3. For larger silos, the tank capacity should exceed 30m3 plus 1m3 for each 150m3 of silo capacity over 1,500m3.
  • Use impermeable silo bases, tanks and drains.
  • Make the base and walls of the silo and the effluent tank resistant to attack from silage effluent. You can buy commercial treatments for this purpose.
  • Line the walls of earth bank stores with an impermeable membrane.
  • Site your silo at least 10m from any water, including field drains and ditches.
  • Use retaining walls that are capable of withstanding the loadings indicated in the British Standard (BS 5502: part 22: 1993). Display a notice that shows the maximum loading and make sure you do not exceed this amount.
  • Construct silos, above ground effluent tanks and drains that will last for at least 20 years with proper maintenance.
  • You must design and construct tanks that are below ground, or partially below ground in accordance with BS 5502 so that they last 20 years with proper maintenance.

British Standards website

Baled and field silage

Store any open baled silage that is wrapped or sealed in impermeable bags at least 10m away from any water, including field drains and ditches into which silage effluent could enter if it were to escape.

You must not make field heap silage.

Store silage made in bulk bags at least 10m from any water, including field drains and ditches into which silage effluent could enter if it were to escape. You must use bags that are made of 1,000 gauge polyethylene or equivalent and you must seal them to prevent effluent escaping. The bags must be stored on a firm, level surface with facilities to safely remove excess effluent.

Further information

The codes of good agricultural practice provide guidance on how to avoid polluting water with silage effluent.

In Northern Ireland, see section 2 of the DARD code of good agricultural practice for water, air and soil.

DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil

NIEA SSAFO Regulations in Northern Ireland

In Scotland, see section 7 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.

Scottish Government: Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA Code) 2005 (Scotland) (Adobe PDF 1.34MB)

What you must do

Have a certificate of competence

You may need a qualification called a certificate of competence if you use agricultural pesticides.

Read section 2 of the code for using plant protection products to find out if you need a certificate of competence.

Scottish Government: Code of Practice for Using Plant Protection Products

In Scotland you must make sure that your pesticide application equipment is tested when five years old. Rucksacks and handheld sprayers are exempt. From 26 November 2015 Grandfather Rights expire (they may have applied if you spray on your own or your employers land) and pesticide spraying must always be carried out by someone with the appropriate certificate.

Scottish Government: Changes to pesticide rules

Notify the relevant authorities before aerial spraying

You must contact your environmental regulator at least 72 hours before you start aerial spraying if you are applying pesticide to land that is within 250 metres of a watercourse.

You must contact the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) , Scottish Natural Heritage at least 72 hours before you spray pesticide to land that is protected as, or is within 1,500m of:

  • a local nature reserve
  • a national nature reserve
  • a marine nature reserve
  • a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) or area of special scientific interest (ASSI)
  • a Natura 2000 site
  • a wildlife refuge.

NIEA: Designated areas
Scottish Natural Heritage: Sitelink

Notify local people before spraying

Before you spray pesticide, you must also notify:

  • local bee-keeper groups at least 48 hours before application
  • the chief environmental health officer for the area, or in Northern Ireland the district council, 24 to 48 hours before application
  • occupants or owners of property within 25 metres of the area to be treated, 24 to 48 hours before application
  • the person in charge of any school, hospital or other institution within 150 metres of the flight path, 24 to 48 hours before application.

Requirements for spraying near watercourses

You must have approval from your environmental regulator before using herbicides on aquatic weeds or weeds on the banks of watercourses such as rivers, ditches, lakes or lochs.

Contact your environmental regulator

For certain pesticides that you apply using ground crop sprayers or broadcast air-assisted sprayers you need to maintain a 5m buffer strip between the area you spray and watercourses. You will need to fill in a Local Environmental Risk Assessment for Pesticides (LERAP) form for your spray records, to show what you have sprayed and the size of the buffer strip. If you want to reduce the width of this strip you will also need to carry out and record the results of a LERAP.

CRD: Local Environmental Risk Assessment for Pesticides

Good practice

Check the codes of good agricultural practice

Northern Ireland: Code of Agricultural Practice for the Prevention of pollution of Water, Air and Soil
Scotland: Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activities PEPFAA code 2005
Scotland: PEPFAA DOs and DON'Ts guide

If you store slurry, you must follow certain regulations if your storage facilities were constructed or substantially altered after:

  • 1 December 2003 in Northern Ireland
  • 1 September 1991 in Scotland.

Older storage facilities are normally exempt from the regulations. However, you may have to carry out improvement work if your environmental regulator considers that your facilities could cause pollution.

You may not be able to use the structure until all necessary works are completed.

What you must do

Notify your environmental regulator in writing before you use new or substantially reconstructed or enlarged stores.

In Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) requires at least 28 days' notice.

In Scotland, SEPA requires at least 28 days' notice.

Contact your environmental regulator

Site the slurry storage system at least 10m from any water including field drains or ditches into which slurry could enter if it were to escape.

You must construct new or substantially reconstructed or enlarged stores to last for at least 20 years with proper maintenance.

In Scotland you must not store slurry:

  • within 10 metres of surface water or wetland
  • within 50 metres of any spring or borehole.

SRUC: Slurry and manure

Capacity

When you add new storage or alter existing storage, you must normally provide storage capacity for:

  • at least 26 weeks slurry production on farms with a pig or poultry enterprise, and 22 weeks for all other farms in Northern Ireland
  • at least six months' slurry production in Scotland.

If you don't provide the required storage you must prepare a farm waste (manure) management plan.

DAERA: COGAP and farm waste management (Northern Ireland)

Scottish Government: Guidance on Farm Waste Management Plans

Ensure the reception pits and associated channels can normally hold at least two days' slurry production, including rainfall draining to the pit. If you use a sluice gate to control the flow of slurry to a reception pit, you must ensure the pit can hold the maximum quantity of slurry that can be released when the sluice is opened.

Do not overfill your slurry store. Keep the top 0.3m for above ground slurry stores and 0.75m for slurry lagoons empty.

Design and construction

Construct the base and walls of slurry tanks and any reception pits so that they can withstand the loadings specified in British Standard (BS) 5502: Part 50: 1993.

Protect the base and walls of slurry storage tanks, effluent tanks, channels, reception pits and pipes against corrosion, in accordance with (BS) 5502: Part 50: 1993.

Make the base of slurry storage tanks and the base and walls of effluent tanks, channels, reception pits and pipes impermeable, you can buy commercially available treatments for this purpose.

Extend the base of the slurry store beyond the walls and perimeter drains, and provide an effluent tank where the walls of the slurry store are not impermeable.

Provide two valves in series on any drainage pipe from the slurry tank and lock them shut when they are not in use.

Good practice

You can increase the available capacity of your slurry storage by preventing rainwater entering the system. You should:

  • cover stores
  • divert clean water from roofs or hard standing to discharge directly to surface water drains for treatment via sustainable drainage systems (SUDS).

Further information

The codes of good agricultural practice provide guidance on how to avoid polluting water with slurry.

In Northern Ireland, see section 2 of the DAERA code of good agricultural practice for water, air and soil.

DAERA: Code of good agricultural practice for the prevention of pollution of water, air and soil

NIEA: Silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil leaflet (Northern Ireland) (Adobe PDF 2.8 MB)

NIEA: Silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil information

In Scotland, see section 4 of the Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA) Code.

Scottish Government: Prevention of Environmental Pollution from Agricultural Activity (PEPFAA Code) 2005 (Scotland) (Adobe PDF - 1.34MB)

CIRIA: Farm waste storage - Guidelines for construction

What you must do

Assess waste for its medicinal, chemical and infectious properties. You can use the information on the safety data sheet (SDS) which accompanies chemicals and medicines to determine whether or not it has hazardous properties.

You must deal with some chemicals and medicines as hazardous/special waste.

Out-of-date veterinary medicines which are cytotoxic (harmful to cell structure and function and which could ultimately cause cell death) and cytostatic (inhibit or suppress cell growth or multiplication) are classed as hazardous/special waste. Empty containers may contain residual medicines so may also be considered hazardous/special waste.

Check if you need to register any exemptions

You may need to register an exemption from waste management licensing for certain activities. If you have an exemption you must still ensure that your activity does not:

  • endanger human health or pollute water, air or soil
  • cause a risk to plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance in terms of noise and odour
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.

Waste management licensing

Store veterinary waste safely

You must register a paragraph 39 exemption if you store waste medicines and veterinary waste, such as hypodermic needles and syringes.

Good practice

Segregate your waste, to help reduce disposal costs. This will also reduce the amount of waste that is classed as hazardous/special waste.

Store infectious material separately and send it for incineration.

Collect offensive waste or hygiene waste separately to your other waste. This includes animal bedding and faeces from pets or wild animals. If this waste has no infectious properties, you can send it to landfill.

British Veterinary Association: Good practice guide to handling veterinary waste in Scotland

British Veterinary Association: Good practice guide to handling veterinary waste in Northern Ireland

Department of Health: Safe Management of Healthcare Waste

Woodchip corrals, straw-bedded corrals and stand-off pads are unroofed outside enclosures. They are used for over-wintering cattle and occasionally sheep.

The enclosures can be unlined if they are over a free-draining soil.

Woodchip corrals are bedded with woodchip. They are usually permanent structures that need annual maintenance.

If the woodchip corral is lined, it is known as a stand-off pad. It will have a system for collecting effluent.

Straw-bedded corrals are bedded with straw. More straw is added throughout the over-wintering period as the bed becomes wet or unclean. The straw is kept to a depth sufficient to prevent faeces, urine and rainfall leaking into the ground.

Straw-bedded corrals are usually unlined, temporary structures with the farm yard manure removed each year. The next winter's straw-bedded corral is sited on a new parcel of land. If permanent, it is normally lined with systems to collect effluent with the farm yard manure removed each year.

What you must do

Unlined woodchip corrals and permanent straw-bedded corrals have a potential to pollute groundwater. You must not use an unlined woodchip corral, unless you can prove that it is unlikely to cause groundwater or surface water pollution.

You may be able to use a temporary straw-bedded corral if the risk to groundwater is low and you maintain a sufficient depth of straw when stocked.

In most instances, where the underlying soil is not impermeable, you will need to install a liner. This is to allow effluent to be collected, treated and recycled to land.

You must not allow the drainage from a woodchip corral to enter groundwater or surface waters. This normally means that you must collect the effluent from the corral and spread it onto land.

Collection systems for the drainage must comply with rules for storing slurry.

Storing slurry

Disposing of waste woodchips

If you dispose of waste woodchips by landspreading or composting you must have registered an exemption with your environmental regulator.

Exemptions for agricultural waste recovery

Areas at risk from nitrate pollution

In Northern Ireland all farmers must comply with rules under the Nitrate Action Programme Regulations and the Phosphorous Regulations.

Northern Ireland: Nitrate Action Programme Regulations

In Scotland you should find out whether you are within a nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ). If you are within an NVZ you will need to follow certain rules, such as limiting the amount of organic and inorganic nitrogen fertiliser you use and keeping records.

Scotland: nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs)

Good practice

You should always contact your environmental regulator before building a new woodchip corral or stand-off pad, or altering an existing one.

Contact your environmental regulator

Further information

The Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) and the Department of Agriculture and Food (Ireland) have published technical guidance on the design, construction and use of woodchip corrals and stand-off pads.

Department of Agriculture and Food (Ireland): Minimum specification for out wintering pads (Adobe PDF - 442KB)

Whats new on NetRegs

  • Waste – Duty of Care Roles and Responsibilities

    The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.

    https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/waste-duty-care-responsibilities

  • Please let us know your thoughts on our new website

    What do you think about our new and improved website. We want your feedback on what you like, what you don’t like and ways we can continue to improve the website. Follow the link to complete the very short survey: NetRegs website – User feedback

  • NEW guidance on Environmental Management Systems

    We have recently updated and improved our guidance on Environmental Management Systems (EMS). You can find the guidance via the Environmental Topics tab or alternatively select the following link Environmental Management Systems (EMS).

  • Consultation on proposed changes to the packaging recycling business targets

    See NI Future legislation or Scotland Future legislation for details of the Consultation

  • NetRegs:- FREE, ANONYMOUS, PLAIN ENGLISH GUIDANCE FOR BUSINESSES

  • NIEA Guidance - Greenfield Excavated Matrials in Construction

    NIEA and the CEF have developed a Regulatory Position to promote Sustainable re-use of natural excavated material from Greenfield sites.

    NIEA: Guidance on the Regulation of Greenfield Excavated Materials in Construction and Development

  • New GPP 2 Above Ground Oil Storage

    The replacements for the PPGs are being developed. Now available GPP 2 Above Ground Oil Storage

  • SEPA Consultation on an Intergated Authorisation Framework

    SEPA is asking for your views on the proposals for integrated authorisations.

    Consultation documents

  • GPP 24 Stables, Kennels and Catteries

    NEW GPP 24 now available: Stables, Kennels and Catteries

  • ENDS Award winner

    NetRegs; Winner of a prestigious ENDS award 2017

    Knowledge development category winner, see the ENDS Awards

  • NetRegs wins an ENDS Environmental Impact Award

    Knowledge development category winners, see the END Awards

  • EIA (Agriculture) Regulations for Northern Ireland

    Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

    Read more on the DAERA website

  • Download our NEW leaflet today: Duty of Care for waste

    NetRegs have produced a new leaflet for Scottish businesses explaining what you must do to comply with YOUR duty of care for waste.

    Duty of Care for waste (Scotland) leaflet (PDF - 775KB)

     

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