With some areas having received 200% of their annual rainfall this year, in recognition of the problem, SEPA has produced a set of guidelines that would allow slurry to be applied in emergency and exceptional circumstance.
This would only apply to those in non-NVZ areas. Within the NVZ areas – which accounts for 12% of Scotland - the rules on storage and spreading are applied by Scottish Government. Here, NFUS would welcome similar flexibility being available.
SEPA's requirements for those outwith the NVZ are: alternative spreading options have been explored; requests to spread are made in writing; stores may be emptied to allow six to eight weeks capacity; and good practice when spreading is required regarding slope, distance from watercourses, application rates etc to avoid pollution.
A standard letter will be issued by SEPA to farmers.
NFU Scotland's Environment and Land Use Policy Manager Andrew Bauer said: "We welcome SEPA's position and its recognition of how the exceptional circumstances are affecting farmers. This approach only applies in non-NVZ areas but we will raise with Scottish Government again the need for RPID to adopt a similar understanding of the weather impact on slurry storage and spreading within NVZ areas."