Slurrying extension calls from Mid Ulster farmers are answered


Mid Ulster UUP councillor Mark Glasgow has said a growing number of farmers have approached him with concerns they will not get their slurry spread before the October ban comes into place.

He called for an extension to accommodate them as he said recent bad weather has forced farmers to keep livestock indoors more, and Farming and Environment Minister Michelle McIlveen acknowledged the problem.

She said each case where a farmer has spread slurry beyond the closed period, which extends from October 15 until January 31, would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Councillor Glasgow said: “The recent bad weather and the weather that’s been experienced during the summer has resulted in farmers having to keep their livestock in the house longer. The slurry ban is due to come into affect on October 15 without taking into account recent bad weather that has prevented the winter slurry storage from being emptied.

“This ban will cause problems during winter months.”

He said he wrote to the Agriculture Minister outlining his concerns.

The minister has since said: “While there is no legal provision in the Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) Regulations Northern Ireland (2014) to grant a complete waiver, I want to make it clear that under exceptional circumstances, beyond the control of and not foreseeable by an individual farmer, a defence may be made for non-compliance.

“I would encourage farmers who are experiencing particular difficulties to speak to either their DAERA Advisor or local farming organisation”.

The closed spreading period is a mandatory requirement of the Nitrates Directive to protect water.