Welsh farms warned not to overlook slurry store rule

Farmers in Wales risk being fined if they fail to notify Natural Resources Wales (NRW) before starting constructing or reconstructing a silage or slurry store.

Advisers have pointed out that some farmers are unaware of the new requirement, introduced in April 2021, to notify NRW 14 days before construction starts of any new, substantially improved or reconstructed store used for silage or slurry.

Gail Jenkins, consultant with Roger Parry & Partners, said: “We regularly work with farmers to successfully gain planning permission for new stores for the storage of silage or slurry on the farm.

See also: Advice on planning your slurry storage requirements

“Many farmers are unaware, however, of this requirement to notify NRW 14 days before the construction work starts.

Prosecution or fine

“Those that don’t notify NRW, risk prosecution or an unlimited fine.”

Making the notification is also a cross-compliance requirement under Statutory Management Requirement (SMR) 1 – Water Protection.

A form is available on the NRW website, which should be used to notify it of any “new, substantially reconstructed, or enlarged facility that farmers intend to use for storing silage or slurry, including field and non-baled, bagged silage sites”.

Costly errors

While the regulation says farmers must make a notification at least 14 days before construction starts, NRW says it would prefer people to do this as early as possible – preferably at the design stage – to prevent possible costly errors.

Similar arrangements involving the notification of relevant authorities before starting to build or use a slurry or silage store are also in place in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

In England, the Environment Agency should be notified at least 14 days before building new storage for silage, slurry or agricultural fuel oil, or before making substantial changes to an existing store.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland and Scotland, at least 28 days’ notification must be given before it is intended to bring a store into use.