NFU Scotland has proposed major changes to the plans for new restrictions for Scotland’s Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, warning farmers will be forced to quit if the Scottish Executive presses ahead with its proposals.
The union believes its alternative proposals will avoid the imposition of “crippling and unnecessary” bills on individual farms, while still meeting the requirements of the EU Nitrates Directive and delivering for the environment.
The proposals feature significant extensions to the closed periods when farmers are banned from spreading slurry which will force farmers to spend tens of thousands of pounds on extra slurry storage.
NFUS surveys have concluded the average pig producer faces a bill of £39,000 and over 40% would quit the industry as a result.
A small survey of farmers in Dumfriesshire uncovered an average bill of £61,000 and the majority would be forced to quit as a result.