EA Advice: Preventing agricultural pollution - exceptional dry weather

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The recent dry weather has left soils cracked in many areas of the UK. The Environment agency has released a statement offering advice on spreading slurry or milk in these unfavourable soil conditions. The full supporting and technical guidance can be found here.

Environment Agency advice:

The Environment Agency’s focus is to avoid or minimise soil damage and/or water pollution that can occur if slurry is spread in unfavourable soil and/or weather conditions. It is also important that stores do not overspill and become a point-source of water pollution.

If your store is at risk of causing pollution and you cannot avoid spreading when you think there is a risk of slurry runoff, run-through to land drains or leaching, or that you risk breaching a legal requirement farmers are urged to contact the Environment Agency as soon as possible to discuss options.

You should also contact the Environment Agency well in advance if you think this scenario is likely to happen at any time when soil conditions are still unlikely to have sufficiently recovered to enable safe slurry spreading.

EA’s national customer contact centre will be able to discuss your situation on a case-by-case basis and advise on what actions you can take, and make a referral to the local agriculture officer where necessary and/or requested.

The Environment Agency may come to an agreement to allow emergency measures for slurry spreading or temporary storage if lagoon/tanks are likely to be compromised, or are at risk of overflowing. This may require a discussion with your local agriculture officer, who will also discuss and agree an action plan with you, if necessary, to help avoid future problems.

Please call 03708 506 506 to speak to EA's National Customer Contact Centre.

Out of hours, or in an emergency, call the incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

More information on spreading during dry weather can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/manage-water-on-land-guidance-for-land-managers

NB:- Legal requirements include but are not limited to NVZ, SSAFO or the new Farming Rules for Water

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