Slurry stores: location and permissions

Find out what to consider when choosing the location of your slurry store and what permissions you will need.

Back to: Slurry storage

Finding the right location

Slurry stores can be a risk to the environment, so it is important to consider the following when choosing a location:

  • A new slurry store must be placed at least 10 metres clear of inland or coastal waters
  • Stores should not be within 10 metres of a land drain
  • Avoid areas that are at risk of flooding
  • Stores should not be located within 50 metres of any borehole, well or spring used for food production, drinking water, or within groundwater SPZ 1
  • You are advised to seek advice from your relevant environmental regulator (Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales or Scottish Environment Protection Agency) if the proposed location is situated near any statutory protected sites in the local area. These sites could include:
    • Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)
    • Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)
    • Special Protection Areas (SPAs)
    • Ramsar sites
    • National Nature Reserves (NNRs)
    • Local Nature Reserves (LNRs)

Online screening tools such as SCAIL can be used to estimate the effect of nitrogen deposition from your slurry store on a habitat.

Impact of odour

Consider the impact of odour from the store on nearby residents, schools, hospitals, parks, or businesses.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local councils are obligated to investigate complaints about odours that could be a ‘statutory nuisance’. If it is agreed that an odour is, has been or will be a statutory nuisance, councils must serve an ‘abatement notice’ which requires whoever is responsible to stop or restrict the smell. This could mean that the store can no longer be used or steps to lessen the odour are required. It is, therefore, sensible to address odour at the design and planning stage rather than deal with a statutory nuisance from odours after the store is built.

As well as considering the environment when choosing the location of your store, it is worth considering the logistics of traffic to and from the slurry store and any future developments that may happen on the farm.

Gaining the right permissions

Planning authority

A new slurry store may require full planning permission. Depending on where it is situated, it may benefit from permitted development rights. Where planning permission is not required, the local planning authority must still be informed of the construction and size of any new slurry store. Information on your local planning authority can be found on your local council website page.

It is important to check with your local planning authority early on to ensure that you follow the correct procedure. It is recommended that you seek guidance from a qualified rural planning consultant.

Environmental regulator

Depending on whether you are based in England, Scotland or Wales, your statutory duty to inform your environmental regulator will vary.

Environment Agency (EA)

In England, you are required by law to notify the Environment Agency at least 14 days before you build new storage or make substantial changes to existing slurry storage. More information can be found at GOV.UK, Guidance for storing silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW)

From 28 April 2021, you are required to notify NRW at least 14 days before construction begins on a new or improved slurry or silage store. NRW have forms available to provide the necessary information. More information can be found at “the SSAFO Wales Regulations” Guidance Notes for Farmers.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

In Scotland, you must notify SEPA at least 28 days before bringing into use any new, enlarged or reconstructed slurry storage facility. More information can be found in Scotland’s Code of Good Practice for the Prevention of Environmental Pollution From Agricultural Activity.

All the above regulators have the power to serve a notice requiring improvements to an installation before it can be used if they do not consider it suitable. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you minimise the risk of constructing a store that is not compliant by involving the relevant agency at an early stage.