The Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) Regulations - UK

The full title of the document is The control of pollution (silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil) regulations 1991 and as amended 1997: Guidance Notes for Farmers. It was published in the current amended form by the Welsh office of DEFRA in 1997. This article covers the introduction, with a link to the full document.
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  1. These Guidance Notes provide background information and guidance on the interpretation of the Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) Regulations 1991 and as amended in 1997. These Regulations were made under Section 92 of the Water Resources Act 1991. The Regulations set standards from 1 March 1991 and came fully into force on 1 September 1991. The amending Regulations came into force on 1 April 1997. The Environment Agency (the Agency) are responsible for enforcing these Regulations.
  2. The Guidance Notes are divided into 4 parts:
    • Introduction
    • General requirements
    • Specific requirements covering:
      • Silage making and storage
      • Slurry stores
      • Agricultural fuel oil stores
    • Appendix: Revised version of the regulations
  3. The Notes aim to explain in simple terms some of the main points in the Regulations. They should not be regarded as a substitute for the Statutory Instrument, and are not intended to have legal force. The appendix to these notes sets out a revised version of the regulations reflecting the changes made by the amending regulations. This is purely illustrative and no reliance should be placed upon it for the purposes of legal interpretation.
  4. The Regulations set minimum legal standards; they do not change other legislation under which it is an offence to cause water pollution. There is a duty both to avoid causing pollution and to comply with the Regulations. Variations in local conditions may mean that on some farms more stringent standards are needed to prevent pollution. You must make sure that your installations do not cause pollution.
  5. The Agency is ready and willing to offer help and guidance on complying with the Regulations, or otherwise preventing pollution. The Agency has produced national guidelines to ensure that the Regulations are implemented consistently and fairly across the country. Technical advice on constructing installations, including advice on appropriate materials, is also available from the suppliers and other agricultural consultants. The Agency has also produced a series of forms, available from local offices, that you can use to help you provide the required information to the Agency in order to comply with the Regulations. The Agency considers these Regulations are important in tackling the problem of agricultural pollution and that success will require the co-operation and commitment of all concerned.
  6. If a pollution incident does occur, it is in everyone's interest that the Agency should be contacted immediately: the Agency's Emergency Hotline telephone number is 0800 807060 or their local emergency number can be found in the telephone book. Quick notification helps reduce the impact of the pollution, and the cost of cleaning it up.

The Regulations

  1. The Regulations apply to:
    • silage making and storage, including baled silage (bagged and wrapped) and field silage (field heaps and non-baled, bagged silage);
    • slurry storage systems, including stores for dilute effluent such as dirty yard water, run-off from solid manure stores in yards, washings from buildings or yards used by livestock, reception pits and associated pipes and channels.
    • agricultural fuel oil stores.
  2. The Regulations do not apply to:
    • residues from fish farms
    • solid manure stores that are away from the farm yard
    • tower silos which comply with BS 5061, and
    • underground, or mobile, or domestic fuel stores.
  3. The Regulations as amended in 1997 allows farmers to make and store silage in a field without a constructed base and effluent containment system provided they have a suitable site. However, to comply with the Regulations, you must tell the Agency at least fourteen days beforehand of the exact site that you propose to use to make field silage (field heaps and non-baled, bagged silage) or to store silage made elsewhere (See Specific Requirements in paragraphs 32, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44).

The Approach Adopted in the Regulations

  1. The objective of these Regulations is to set out what is required from those who are in control of silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil to minimise the risk of water pollution from these substances. They do not, in general, specify the means to be adopted to meet these requirements. Provided that minimum standards are met, you can exercise discretion in constructing installations. Installations which comply with the current British Standards will generally meet the requirements, but it is wise in all cases to check with the requirements set out in the Regulations.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.

February 2009
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