Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Prevent odour nuisances from your farm

Prevent nuisance from odours on your farm

Sources of odour on your farm can include:

  • manure
  • slurry
  • silage effluent
  • feed
  • livestock housing
  • carcasses.

They can indicate that high levels of ammonia have been released into the atmosphere.

Animal husbandry is the largest source of ammonia releases to air in the UK. Slurry and manure are likely to release ammonia when they come into contact with air. Emissions of ammonia can:

  • Disrupt the balance of some types of vegetation such as heathlands or bogs which exist partly because of naturally low soil nitrogen.
  • Result in acidity when it reacts in the soil. Excess acid in the soil is damaging to certain types of vegetation.
  • Lead to damaged foliage and slower growth of trees or other vegetation growing close to a source of high ammonia emissions due to the direct toxic effects of the gas.

The UK is required to reduce its ammonia emissions to meet air quality standards.

What you must do

If odour from your farm is causing a nuisance to the surrounding community, your local council can limit or even stop you from working.

If you don't address an odour problem you could face legal action and a fine.

Noise, odour and other nuisances

Good practice

The type of feed you use influences the odours your manure produces. You can use special products to reduce nitrogen excretions, and therefore odours, at all stages of livestock rearing.

Dust particles can carry odours. You should mix and mill foodstuffs such as whey and fish-meal, within a closed system.

How you minimise odour from slurry and manure will depend on the type of housing and collection system you have. You should:

  • Remove slurry regularly, and clean affected areas whenever possible. This prevents the build up and decay of the slurry, and prevents resulting odours.
  • Inspect and maintain drinkers and troughs to prevent leaks as water will increase ammonia release in poultry litter.
  • Drain effluent to collection tanks if it is not absorbed by bedded systems.
  • Cover litter removed from your buildings to keep it dry.

Further information

The codes of good agricultural practice provide more information on how to minimise odours and gases.

In Northern Ireland, see section 11 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

In Scotland, see section 13 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)

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