Publication - Advice and guidance

Nuisance provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008: guidance

Procedural guidance on the statutory nuisance provisions outlined in the Public Health etc. (Scotland) Act 2008.

Nuisance provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008: guidance




1. It is important if fly problems are to be prevented that manure supplied is of the best possible quality in terms of fly and maggot infestation. It is also important that manure supplied is capable of being stored in such a way as to prevent it causing a problem with flies.

2. Manure should be as dry as possible before it is allowed to be taken for use. This makes it difficult for flies to breed and also allows it to be stored in a manner that enables it to be covered more easily. A level of at least 50% dry matter is desirable and 30% dry matter should be the minimum. Manure with a dry matter content below 30% should not be supplied unless satisfied that it will be used and incorporated immediately. If the manure is to be used on pasture or for top dressing a growing crop, it is essential that it is applied only in small droplets that will either dry out or be taken into the soil very quickly. If it cannot be used immediately it must be stored within a manageable facility and not a field store.

3. Regular inspections of animal houses should be made to identify any infestations of maggots or flies at an early stage to allow treatment as soon as possible. A monitoring and treatment process should be implemented and records maintained to show what has been done. Research of ADAS approved schemes suggests that one way of monitoring fly and larval activity is to use a grid system. The use of ADAS endorsed schemes may be used to demonstrate "Best Practice".

4. A number of monitoring squares, (six for large poultry houses) shall be marked out along the inside walls, ceilings and the undersides of walkways. They should be 1 metre by 1 metre and marked out with a visible marker to form a border on an area where flies are likely to land. A count of flies on the wall and ceiling squares should be made on a regular basis at all times and twice weekly during the summer months from the beginning of April until the end of October.

5. There should also be six designated areas where maggot activity is monitored. These should be approximately 0.5 metre square areas that are intrusively investigated. A rough guide to larval assessment is 0 = 0 larvae, 1 = 5% of manure covered by larvae, 2 = 10% of manure covered by larvae, 3 = 20% covered by larvae, 4 = 30% of manure covered by larvae, 5 = 40% of manure covered by larvae. When the average larval count in any manure pit is 2, the manure in that pit should be treated with a proprietary larvicide applied in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations. No manure should be taken from the house if the average larval count in the pit is 2 or above.

6. The use of sticky traps and indicator boards is also recommended where adult flies are known to congregate, such as pit ends and around feed hoppers and these should be monitored and changed regularly.

7. It is recommended that all staff receive suitable training to enable them to effectively monitor and treat any infestations.

8. Manure should not be removed if it is infested with larvae and full treatment of any manure that routine inspection shows to be infested should be completed prior to its removal. This may take up to four weeks to be completely effective so forward planning is essential. For some larvicides there is a minimum time between application on manure and the spreading on land. Details can be obtained from the manufacturers and must be taken into account before spreading on the land.


9. When transporting poultry manure from its point of origin to the place where it is delivered, it is important that care is taken to minimise the impact that it may have on residential areas during transit. It is important that the manure is not transported unless it is of sufficient quality. It is also important that when the manure is delivered to the end user it is done so in such a way as to enable it to be stored/covered if necessary at the end of each day. It is the responsibility of the haulier to ensure that:

  • Manure that does not have a minimum content of 30% dry matter is only transported in suitable vehicles that are designed for the purpose.
  • Trailers are not overloaded allowing manure to be spilled onto the highway.
  • Trailers should be covered if practical, particularly if moving more than short distances or through residential areas.
  • Manure is delivered in such a way as to enable it to be easily covered.
  • Experience has shown that narrow rows or 'windrows' of manure are more easily covered.
  • The recipients are aware of this guidance and their responsibilities to observe it.
  • That the recipient of the manure has made provision for covering the manure if necessary. The manure should then be covered at the end of each day of delivery.

10. Delivery should only be made if the contractor is satisfied that the recipient is aware of the guidance and their responsibilities under it. Delivery should not be made if the recipient is unable to ensure that the manure is adequately covered, should this be necessary, and in this case the manure should be returned to its point of origin or other suitable storage facility.

11. It is also important that care is taken to prevent mud being deposited on the highway as this can pose additional dangers to other road users.


12. The storage of manure is one of the most important factors in preventing fly infestations. It has been seen that even manure that is produced, transported and delivered in a dry, fly-free state can in some cases become infested and cause problems.

13. It is important when manure is delivered and is being stored without covering because it has been supplied in a fly free condition, that the pile is monitored by the recipient on a frequent basis at least three times per week to ensure that there is no fly activity.

14. At the first sign of fly activity the manure should be covered. It is therefore essential that recipients of manure have stocks of suitable sheeting material before receiving the manure so that it can used at very short notice.

15. During the summer months from the beginning of May to the end of September recipients storing manure near to residential areas should consider covering the manure if storing for more than a few days, as the covering will also help to prevent any odour nuisance from occurring. While it is important that manure is stored in such a way as to prevent fly nuisance, care should also be taken to ensure that other codes of practice designed to protect land and watercourses are observed.

16. Although it may not be necessary to cover all piles of poultry manure, the potential for problems to occur is increased during the summer months from the beginning of May to the end of September. During this time users of poultry manure may wish to take a 'safety first' approach when deciding whether a pile of poultry manure needs to be covered.

17. When storing manure it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that:

  • Any piles of manure that are not covered on delivery must be inspected frequently and at least three times per week for signs of fly infestation and a record kept of these checks for examination by the Local Authority. At the first sign of fly activity on or around the pile the manure must be covered immediately.
  • All stored manure that needs to be covered is covered at the end of each day of delivery to prevent flies migrating to or from the pile. This will serve to reduce the odour emitted during storage, prevent flies infesting the manure and raise the temperature inside the pile to a level that will kill any flies or larvae that are already inside. It will also help to prevent the potential for odour nuisance to any nearby residential premises.
  • The manure should be deposited between two pre-prepared earthen ditches or bunds in narrow rows or 'windrows'.
  • The manure should then be tightly covered with polythene in such a way as to leave no gaps. Suitable polythene can be obtained from most agricultural suppliers.
  • The edges of the polythene should then be buried in the ditches by back filling to prevent flies escaping and to prevent the wind from removing the sheeting.

18. Simply weighting down the sheeting is usually not effective. The piles of manure should be checked at least every four days by the recipient to ensure that there is no damage to the polythene. Damaged polythene will need to be replaced.

19. All manure that needs to be covered in this way should remain covered for a minimum of ten days before it is used or until it is used to ensure that any flies or fly larvae are killed and the pile does not become more infested.

20. Avoid putting storage piles next to dwellings, places of work, popular leisure areas etc..

21. Manure should be stored on level ground to avoid run off.

22. Do not store manure over field drains or within ten metres of a watercourse.


23. The spreading of manure has been associated with a number of fly infestations in recent years, even where it has been demonstrated that the manure used is free from infestation. It is recognised by independent entomologists that the odour given off during spreading can attract naturally occurring populations of flies and causes them to artificially concentrate and increase in numbers.

24. Manure should be incorporated by deep cultivation within 24 hours of spreading. This is in accordance with the DEFRA Air Code 1998 and will minimise odour and ammonia emissions and prevent access by flies that may be in the area.

25. When spreading on pasture, only manure that is free from flies and larvae and of low odour should be used. Animals should not graze fields until the minimum time period recommended by ADAS has passed. Care should also be taken that other DEFRA Codes of Practice for protection of soil and water are followed and that manure is not over-applied. (Spreading of manure that has been stored before spreading will be deemed to be the responsibility of the farmer and not the producer.)

26. Manure should not be applied to ground that is waterlogged, flooded, frozen hard or snow covered. It should not be applied within ten metres of ponds or watercourses or within 50m of wells or boreholes.

27. The spreading of manure on Bank Holidays and Sundays should be avoided.

28. Operators should make every effort to remove mud and manure from the tractor and trailer/spreader wheels before driving on the highway.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit