Sir, – Has NFUS neglected the small farmer again? I refer to the proposed new slurry regulations and, particularly, the condition of requiring to have 22 weeks' slurry storage. It doesn't look as though our union representatives have fully addressed this.

The suckler beef industry (mainly) in the Highlands and Islands could almost disappear if every small beef enterprise was asked to install the required equipment. It would not be financially feasible to do this. There must be a derogation at least for such units where reasonable alternative mitigation to climate change is practised.

In the whole scheme of things, the carbon footprint of most small livestock farms where the feet of animals on permanent, or semi-permanent pasture helps the sequestration of carbon within the soil and where no large amount of nitrogen is applied to the soil is generally good. Slurry can be kept out of water courses more readily on extensive pasture.

This is a serious issue which needs to be resolved immediately by our farmer representatives and the civil servants in the Scottish Government, otherwise a major sector of the Scottish beef industry could be wiped out.

Why does it take a realist like Jim Walker to have to take this up in the farming press? Were the rest of our representatives 'sleeping at the wheel' when these negotiations were taking place or were they not listened to?

Margie Currie


Isle of Arran.