Sludge review: final recommendations

These are the Cabinet Secretary's final recommendations following the review into the storage and spreading of sewage sludge on land in Scotland.

Annex A

Review of the Storage and Spreading of Sewage Sludge on Land in Scotland (The Sludge Review): Final Recommendations

The Sludge Review investigated and considered the following issues relating to the use of sewage sludge on land:

a) Treatment of non-agricultural land for the purposes of restoration - rates, methods and guidance and legislation for such activities.

b) Land classification, including the circumstances when land under restoration becomes ready for use in agriculture or forestry

c) Licensing Requirements:

  • Criteria for exemptions under Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011.
  • Role of licensing in relation to land restoration projects.
  • Options for a "fit and proper person" test and registration scheme.
  • Minimum distance of sludge storage and spreading from dwellings
  • Role of planning system.
  • Approach to identifying 'ecological improvement' and 'benefit to agriculture'

d) Roles, responsibilities and parameters related to treatment and testing sludge, including the legal requirements around treatment and storage of sewage sludge.

e) Links with other legislation, statutory management and planning requirements and voluntary schemes.

f) Communication, consultation and notification: neighbours, landowners and other stakeholders

g) Nuisance issues such as odour, and noise during unsocial hours.

h) Reporting and data collection - quantities of sludge used, locations, materials and regulatory controls etc.

i) Improvements to regulation and guidance, including legal definitions.

j) Improvements to liaison between all delivery partners.

The Review Team approached the following stakeholders groups to seek their views on storage and use of sewage sludge on land:

  • Forestry Commission Scotland
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • local authorities
  • site operators
  • members of the public (particularly those located near restoration and agricultural sites)
  • farming and rural land interests including National Farmers Union of Scotland and Scottish Land and Estates
  • Health Protection Scotland
  • The Hutton Institute
  • Scottish Agricultural College


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