Water Industry News

New Slurry Infrastructure Grant Available For Farmers

Under the new Slurry Infrastructure grant scheme, farmers across England will be able to apply for funding up to £250,000 to help drive improvements in slurry storage, a necessary move given that approximately half of all stores in England are currently not fit for purpose, with farmers having to spread slurry when there is no crop need.


By making storage improvements, farmers will be able to prevent water and air pollution more effectively, while making the best of their organic nutrients and ensuring that they continue to be compliant with legal obligations for slurry storage and spreading.


The first round of the grant will be administered by the Rural Payments Agency and will open for applications on December 6th, with £13 million available for livestock farmers to build six months of capacity for storage.


Good slurry management practices are important in order for those in the agriculture industry to better protect the environment. While slurry is a valuable source of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus – which can all be used to help grow crops – these nutrients can make their way into rivers, streams and coastal waters, leading to harmful algal blooms.


These blooms block sunlight and deplete oxygen levels in the water, which can have disastrous consequences for natural habitats, ecosystems and biodiversity.


Large amounts of ammonia can also be released into the atmosphere via slurry, which then returns to the land as nitrogen, causing some plants to thrive, which restricts diversity and harms vulnerable habitats.


By enlarging and covering their slurry stores, farmers will help to reduce the sector’s emissions and pollution rates, as well as helping them to reduce costs on artificial fertilisers – which will deliver productivity benefits over the long term via improved nutrient management and soil health.


Full guidance on the grant has now been published, explaining what’s on offer, the rules of the scheme and how to go about applying. Resources have also been made available to help storage planning, as well as information for local planning authorities.


Mark Spencer, farming minister, said: “We know livestock farmers want to invest in slurry systems that support quality food production and protect the environment, but many are put off by high infrastructure costs and difficulty accessing finance.


“The Slurry Infrastructure grant will tackle this, helping farmers to invest in future-proof slurry storage that supports thriving farms while cutting pollution and allowing nature to prosper.”


At the start of the year, the Environmental Audit Committee found that agricultural pollution was one of the main contributing factors to the sorry state of England’s waterways, with just 14 per cent currently meeting good ecological status. As such, it seems that this new round of funding couldn’t come at a more opportune time.


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