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Ministers respond to flooding of slurry storage facilities during Storm Babet

Ministers respond to flooding of slurry storage facilities during Storm Babet

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, T.D and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien T.D have moved to clarify the situation for farmers with flooded slurry storage facilities arising from recent heavy rain.

Minister McConalogue stated,

“Given the extension of the slurry spreading period to the 14th of October, in most cases where tanks have been appropriately managed, there should be very little slurry present and, in many cases, what has accumulated during Storm Babet is soiled water.”

“These exceptional weather conditions have caused significant challenges for many people, including our farmers. We recognise this and as a result we have moved to give impacted farmers clarity on the actions they can take”.

Under the Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Waters Regulations (SI 113 of 2022, as amended), assuming suitable ground conditions and an acceptable weather forecast, soiled water can be spread up to early December. However, there can be no further spreading of slurry until the slurry spreading season opens early next year.

Ministers McConalogue and O’Brien set out the issues farmers with flooded slurry storage facilities need to consider before taking action:

1. There should be no agitation of material in the tank prior to spreading. The aim must be solely to remove soiled water and the suction pipe must be appropriately inserted into the tank to achieve this.

2. Soil conditions and the weather forecast must be suitable for the application of soiled water without any risk of run-off.

3. Relevant buffer strips must be maintained.

4. If a farmer has any concerns that the content of a flooded slurry store may not be soiled water, they should contact their Local Authority prior to taking any action.

The Ministers also advised that appropriate sanctions would apply where a farmer is found to have spread slurry during the closed period. Emphasising the need to protect and improve water quality, Minister O’Brien stated

“We must deliver on our commitments to improving water quality and it’s important to note that today’s announcement solely applies to soiled water. There will be no excuse for people found spreading slurry in breach of the Regulations.”

Concluding, both Ministers stated they wished to take this opportunity to sympathise with everyone who have been impacted by Storm Babet.