How to use manures and slurries appropriately

The storage, movement and use of waste materials requires an environmental permit or an exemption from an environmental permit.

When are manure and slurry considered waste materials

Manure and slurry are not considered waste when they are used to improve soil or support crop growth.

When manure or slurry are applied to land with no demonstrable benefit to the soil or crop growth or when they exceed the nutrient requirements of the crop, they are considered waste materials.

Manure and slurry used in a treatment process, or stored prior to a treatment process, for example composting or Anaerobic Digestion (AD), is waste and will be subject to waste regulations, including the need for an environmental permit or exemption.

If any harm is caused to the environment or human health at any point through the collection, storage or use of manures or slurry they become waste.

If any harm is caused to the environment or human health, we will investigate and take action in line with our Enforcement and Prosecution Policy. 

What you can do to ensure the manure and slurry on your farm is not treated as waste


All livestock manures and slurry produced on or imported to your farm should be stored safely. The Water Resources Regulations 2021 set out how you should do this.

Read more about safely storing silage and slurry on our website.

Download guidance from Farming Connect on storing silage and slurry safely.

Nutrient and Manure Management Plans

You should produce a Manure Management Plan setting out how they were produced, collected, moved, stored and used.

If you are spreading manure and slurry on your land you should produce a nutrient management plan as part of your manure management plan. A nutrient management plan will detail the level and type of nutrients that will improve your crop growth.

You can find best practice guidance on spreading manures and slurries to crops on the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board website

If you are exporting manure and slurry to another farm as a fertiliser you must ensure they have a nutrient management plan in place that identifies the manure or slurry is required.

The crop you want to grow should require the nutrients being applied.

For instance, if the crop requires a certain level of nitrogen but does not require any phosphate then no additional phosphate should be applied. If your manure or slurry contains nutrients the crop does not require then applying it could result in pollution and this would indicate that your manure or slurry is a waste material.

Ensure your manure or slurry can be used without further treatment

Common treatments include anaerobic digestion, composting or other treatments that produce a product for sale. These treatments are considered waste treatments and should have the required permissions. If you are moving livestock manure to a waste treatment operation, then the livestock manure is considered a waste and duty of care provisions will apply.

You can find out more about the requirements of duty of care on our Waste duty of care for organisations pages

Ensure your slurry or manure is being spread properly

Land spreading should be carried out in accordance with the Water Resources Regulations 2021.

Download further guidance on these regulations for farmers on the Welsh Government website.

Find more information on evidence needs on our Manure and Nutrient Management Plan page.

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