Farmer fined £6,000 for environmental offences following inadequate storage of slurry

date23 December 2016

Farmer Norman Greer has been fined £6,000 yesterday (22 December, 2016) at Perth Sheriff Court, for failure to correctly store slurry and failing to notify SEPA timeously of a new slurry storage system at Wharlawhill Farm near Carnbo in Kinross.

On 17 February 2014, slurry was observed in the South Queich river. The watercourse was discoloured, foaming and smelt strongly of slurry. SEPA officers managed to trace the slurry 4 km upstream to an unnamed tributary of the South Queich and then to the slurry tank on Wharlawhill Farm which was found to be leaking. Officers noted large puddles of slurry and significant foaming visible on the ground around the tank, while a drainage pipe installed around the tank was connected to a field drainage pipe which was discharging slurry directly to the tributary.

On inspection, it appeared that the slurry had been leaking from a hole on the slurry tank. A rag and a pipe had been used to plug this hole.

Sampling of the South Queich River highlighted significant pollution and SEPA classed this incident as a Category 1 Major Pollution event due to the fact there was environmental damage to the watercourse for more than 1 kilometre.

The slurry tank itself had been in use from the 28 January 2014 and as such required notification to SEPA of the same at least 28 days prior to use. Mr Greer notified SEPA of the same on the 3 February 2014.

By failing to install effective containment measures, Mr Greer showed a complete disregard for the regulatory structure and environmental legislation in place to safeguard the local environment.

SEPA’s Reporting Officer said:

The fine for this incident should provide a clear message to other farmers who choose to disregard environmental legislation, that storing slurry correctly is of paramount importance. While slurry is a useful fertiliser, it is also a highly polluting substance if not controlled properly and therefore must be stored and managed in an appropriate manner.

“In this case, poor storage led to over 1km of the local river being polluted following a leak - an issue which could have been avoided had it been addressed by the farmer.”

Ends

Notes to editors

The exact charges which Norman Greer pled guilty to are below:

(001) on 17th February 2014 at Wharlawhill Farm near Carnbo, Kinross KY13 0NZ you NORMAN GREER, being a person having custody or control of slurry which shall be stored in a slurry storage system in relation to which the requirements of Schedule 2 of the aftermentioned regulations shall be satisfied, did fail to comply with the requirements of Regulation 3(1) and Schedule 2 Paragraph 7 and 10 of the aftermentioned regulations in that you did store slurry in a slurry storage system and associated pipework that was i) situated within 10 metres of inland or coastal waters namely a field drain and said slurry did escape and enter said field drain, and ii) fitted with a drainage pipe without valves that were capable of stopping the flow of slurry through the pipe in contravention of regulation 3(1) of the aftermentioned regulations;

CONTRARY to Regulation 11 of the Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (Scotland) Regulations 2003

(002) on 17th February 2014 at Wharlawhill Farm near Carnbo, Kinross KY13 0NZ you NORMAN GREER, being a person who proposes to have custody or control of any relevant substance, namely slurry, which is to be kept or stored on a farm in a slurry storage system constructed after 29 December 2003 did keep or store said slurry in a slurry storage system without having served notice on SEPA specifying the type of structure to be used and its location at least 28 days before it was to be used for such purpose in contravention of regulation 10 of the aftermentioned regulations;

CONTRARY to Regulation 11 of The Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (Scotland) Regulations 2003