Natural Resources Wales advice to farmers

Silage storage

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is urging farmers to ensure they are storing their silage, slurry and diesel appropriately following three major pollution incidents in Wales.

Officers from NRW have recently dealt with two major slurry pollution incidents and a serious farm diesel spill. 

Slurry and silage effluent is a strong pollutant removing oxygen from the water, killing fish and water insects. Fuel oil can affect birds and other river life. 

NRW has produced a guidance leaflet which helps explain the legal requirements within the Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil Regulations. The guidance leaflet has been issued to the farming unions and is also available on the NRW website. 

The environmental impact of the three incidents could have been much less had NRW been contacted earlier. NRW is requesting that farmers report such incidents or accidents immediately on 0800 807060.  

Reporting the incident quickly will allow officers attending to offer advice and support to try to help prevent or reduce the environmental impact rather than spending time trying to identify the source. 

Phil Morgan, Catchment Co-ordinator at Natural Resources Wales said: 

“We’ve been working closely with farmers for many years to ensure silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil on farm is being stored appropriately. However these recent incidents highlights that there is still some work to be done. 

“Prevention is much better than cure, but some incidents still happen. And if they do, the best thing any farmer or contractor can do is contact us immediately. 

“We will then provide help and advice on how to prevent or reduce the environmental impact of the incident rather than spending time trying to identify the potential source. 

“With many farmers now having cut silage, they will need to check their silage stores for leaks to make sure that no effluent is escaping from the farm. 

"We also ask farmers and contractors to keep an eye on weather forecasts to plan slurry spreading operations when it’s dry so that they minimise the pollution risk and meet legal guidelines.”

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