The consultation – Silage, Slurry and Liquid Digestate – Storage and Application - was published on 12th January 2021 and ran for 12 weeks, closing on 13th April 2021.
There were 43 responses to the consultation. Forty one responded to the questions on Scottish Government Consultation Hub. Two others responded by email but did not answer the consultation questions. Of the 41 responses to the consultation hub, 29 were from individuals or farm businesses with the other 12 from organisations with an interest in water quality, biodiversity and the agriculture sector. The NFU Scotland response contained details of a survey of 549 farmers and 5 case studies.
A large number of respondents did not provide comment with their response.
The 34 responses permissioned to be published can be found on the Scottish Government Consultation Hub.
Controls over the storage of silage and slurry have been in place since September 1991 through the Silage, Slurry, and Agricultural Fuel Oil (Scotland) Regulations (SSAFO). All structures built since 1991 have been required to comply with the regulations including having 6 months storage for slurry.
The consultation proposed that the SSAFO regulations are consolidated into The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations (CAR).
In addition, the consultation proposed that the exemption for pre 1991 structures was removed. This does not mean that all pre-1991 structures should be demolished and rebuilt, but that they must meet the requirements of the regulations.
Scottish Government fully understands that the basic design of structures has not changed over the years and that many pre-1991 structures will have been well maintained. But, with age, the risk of failure of the infrastructure associated with silage and slurry stores increases.
One major slurry escape of recent years involved the release of 150,000 gallons of slurry, and was due to a sluice gate jamming open. Such incidents have potential for a devastating effect on water quality and biodiversity. Ensuring that all structures meet basic construction standards will help avoid potential impacts.
Many of the proposals are based on the good practice measures in the Prevention of Pollution from Agricultural Activities code of practice(PEPFAA) which was originally published in 1997 with input from Scottish Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the NFU Scotland, and the Scottish Rural College
This report will cover points raised on a question by question basis.