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A Green Paper on Dairy Farming and Agricultural Environmental Pollution March 2011 Eil/wp/DairyfarmingW-03.2011/01


Dairy Farming and Agricultural Environmental Pollution : For most people farms and farming conjures images of grass, hay bales, animals, fresh eggs and milk; a closeness with nature, good healthy living. So it is a shock to many to learn that the agricultural industry is one of the most frequent polluters of the environment. Of the 21355 incidents of water pollution in England and Wales in 2009, 5.9% were directly related to agriculture. When referring to agricultural pollution, we are not just referring to man-made substances like chemical pesticides. For example, Itʼs a little known fact that milk can have a devastating effect if it is allowed to find itʼs way to rivers and streams. According to the Environment Agencyʼs PPG 17 milk ʻcan be as much as 400 times more polluting than untreated sewageʼ. Naturally occurring bacteria break down milk as it enters a watercourse, consuming the oxygen in the water at a much faster rate than it can be replaced. The consequence of the depleting oxygen levels has a suffocating effect on fish and other creatures. The high fat content of milk can also cause serious physical problems within drainage systems. Dairy farms were responsible for just under half of the agricultural incidents in 2004 and were also responsible for a third of all agricultural incidents related to above ground storage tanks. Itʼs statistics like this which have led to the introduction of stricter environmental legislation and increased powers for the regulating agencies. In February 2010, the Environment Agency and Natural England become the first regulators to be given new civil powers that gave them greater flexibility to enforce environmental law, including on-the-spot fines. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: "These new powers will help make the system fairer for the law-abiding majority of businesses and will give regulators a practical and effective alternative to prosecution.” It will give them “access to flexible and proportionate sanctions that will strengthen the protection of the environment and human health when tackling businesses who break the law." Ian Lucas, Minister for Business and Regulatory Reform, said: "The award of these new powers is a significant step forward that will provide an alternative to costly and time consuming criminal proceedings.” The changes have been widely welcomed by businesses in general, however, there have been some who think it empowers the regulators as “judge, jury and executioner”. The warning came from Derek Mead, a Bridgwater farmer who is hoping to be the next NFU president, he said “farmers can expect nothing but trouble, by and large farmers are aware of their environmental obligations and the problems they will face if they ignore


them.” Andrew Clark, Head of Policy Services, the National Farmersʼ Union said “the availability of sanctions other than just criminal prosecution in dealing with businesses which do not comply with the law is long overdue." Even before the changes, farming was widely considered to be the most highly-regulated industry in the country. In order to try and help farmers understand their obligations the Environment Agency has introduced a “Learning about Agricultural Waste Tool” via their NetRegs website. The tool provides the farming community with seven simple subjects for battling waste – including guidance on hazardous waste, duty of care and on-site storage and transport.  NFU Environment Policy Adviser Aarun Naik said: “Farmers are faced by a barrage of legislation and it is simply not feasible for them to spend hours reading up on every aspect of waste.  “In the last year alone there have been significant changes made to the hazardous waste and animal by-products regulations in parts of the UK, which farmers need to know about.  The new NetRegsʼ Waste Tool will help farmers “keep on top of the legislation that applies to them, without costing them time and money.” The most recent case which highlighted the serious pollution concerns posed by dairy farms related to the proposal for a 3,770 cow ʻsuper-dairyʼ in Lincolnshire UK. There had been widespread opposition to the plans from local community groups from the start. The projects plans were finally withdrawn after a court was told that the environment Agency had concluded ʻthat the facility would pose an unacceptable risk of pollution to groundwaterʼ. The Environment Agency had lodged their objection to the plans amid concerns about the potential for pollution seeping through limestone into groundwater, from which drinking supplies are drawn. Although the sheer scale of the dairy was a significant nail in the coffin for the plans approval, it does raise many questions about how all dairy farms are run. Defra freely recognises that “the majority of non-compliance is unintentional,” however, ignorance is no defence and the more information the regulators make available the harder it will be for offenders to claim unawareness of the regulations. There have been numerous recent prosecution cases brought by the Environment Agency against farmers in the UK for environmental pollution across all sectors of farming. Dairy trade effluent and contaminated rainwater cost a Worcestershire dairy £9,700, polluting a stream with sheep dip cost a Devon farmer £4,500. A spillage of pig feed cost another farmer £7,000 and a Lincolnshire Turkey farm was recently fined £11,500 for contaminating local drains with blood and abattoir waste. Itʼs not just negligence which can be costly, a Lancashire dairy farmer faced clean-up costs approaching £70,000 after thieves raided his 10,000 litre diesel tank


and allowed fuel to spill onto his farm and into a local brook via the farmsʼ drainage system. For a more comprehensive list of agricultural pollution related prosecutions, please see links below. The recent European Liability Directive has widespread powers to ensure that the ʻPolluter Paysʼ. This involves far more than fines, the polluter can face massive costs for returning the contaminated area back to pre-spill levels, including re-stocking fish and wildlife. In extreme cases, negligent bosses can face imprisonment. In addition to the costs and fines imposed, the polluter will also face ʻstop noticesʼ which will prevent the business from carrying on until it has taken steps to come back into compliance. One company working closely with farmers is Environmental Innovations Limited, a UK based company that design, manufacture and install low cost manual and fully automated smart systems which contain the spill using the drain itself as a containment vessel. Unlike standard spill kits the system can cope with large scale spills and has the added environmentally friendly advantage of being fully re-usable. A fingers-crossed attitude to containing spills is simply not an option and in most cases the cost of pre-emptive precautions will be far, far less than the potential fines, remuneration costs and loss of business.

BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) values of typical pollutants : Milk: 140,000 mg/litre Silage Liquor: up to 80,000 mg/litre Cattle Slurry: up to 20,000 mg/litre Vegetable Washings 500-3000 mg/litre Liquid Sewage Sludge: 20,000 mg/litre Pig Slurry: up to 30,000 mg/litre Domestic Sewage: 300-400 mg/litre Treated Sewage: 20-60 mg/litre


AGRICULTURAL PROSECUTION CASE STUDIES Please find below a small selection of recent dairy and agricultural pollution prosecutions >

Super-Dairy Plans Pose 'Unacceptable Risk Of Water Pollution’ The odds against a proposed super-dairy being built near Lincoln appear to be stacking up after comments made by the Environment Agency. Planners have received 13,500 comments on the 3,770-cow dairy plan and a decision is expected in March ... www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk

Egg Processing Farm Prosecuted and Fined £3500 The court heard high protein levels in the waste water could adversely affect local watercourses and the wildlife living in them. www.meattradenewsdaily.co.uk

Turkey Factory Fined For Pollution £11k fine for Lincolnshire turkey factory that polluted drains with fat, feathers and blood ... www.web4water.com

Devon Agricultural Contractor Fined For Diesel Spill Pollution of Devon stream leads to fine for agricultural contractor in breach of oil storage regulations ... www.edie.net

Dairy Farm Fined For Slurry Spill Dairy farm fined for allowing a slurry lagoon to overflow and contaminate a neighbouring stream ... www.web4water.com

Yorkshire Farmer Fined £10k Over Manure Slurry Flood A Yorkshire farmer who allowed manure from his herd of 70 cows to flood an elderly neighbour's home with slurry was ordered to pay £10,000 … www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk


Farmer Find £20k For Lack Of Environmental Permit Carlisle farmer admitted operating an intensive chicken farming unit without an environmental permit, when he appeared before magistrates ... www.meatinfo.co.uk

Farm Fined Over Stream Pollution A farming company has been fined £15k after it admitted polluting a Lincolnshire stream ... www.news.bbc.co.uk

Farmer Narrowly Escapes Jail For Slurry Spill A farmer has escaped jail after he admitted polluting a village brook with slurry and farm effluent. The Derby farmer was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and a one-month curfew between the hours of 12.30am and 5.30am. The court also ordered him to pay £5,000 towards costs ... www.ashbournenewstelegraph.co.uk

Farmer Fined £13k For Pig Slurry Spillage A family-run Teesside farm must pay more than £13,000 in court fines and costs after pig slurry got into a nearby beck - killing 220 fish. EA Officers calculated 220 native brown trout had died from asphyxiation due to the water being polluted ... www.gazettelive.co.uk

Farmers Urged To Check Pesticides In Water If you thought the most valuable output to leave your land was your wheat, you'd be wrong. It's actually water, with a typical calculated drinking water value of £8625/ha in eastern counties. Little wonder, then, that you're asked to check, and check again, that it leaves your farm as pesticide-free as possible ... www.fwi.co.uk

Farmer Orderd To Pay £9.5k For Polluting River A farm where a controversial energy-from-waste plant was proposed has been ordered to pay fines and costs of £9,515 after it killed hundreds of fish by polluting watercourse with slurry… www.thisisexeter.co.uk


Agricultural enterprise as sources of pollution incidents category 1-3, as well as total numbers of incidents, by region (2004). (Environment Agency data)


ESSENTIAL READING PPG17 Dairies and Other Milk Handling Operations These guidelines have been drawn up to assist all who design and operate dairies and other milk and milk product handling operations in the avoidance of water pollution and the minimisation of waste. They should be read with the Agenciesʼ general guidance on preventing pollution. http://www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/ppg17.pdf

Environment Agency Environmental Plan for Dairy Farming

‘Focussing on the environmental challenges of their industry is not easy for most dairy farmers. They are struggling to break even in a tough economic climate. However, the industry recognises that these challenges are not going to go away. If we achieve the goals in this plan we may improve, or potentially even solve, some of the sector’s environmental problems. It will make it easier for farmers to comply with environmental regulation and prepare the industry for some of the future challenges that might lie ahead, especially in the Water Framework Directive. These goals are positive on their own. However, it is also important for dairy farmers and their representatives to get encouragement and see benefits from their efforts to improve their environmental performance. If the sector can show that it can take ownership of environmental problems, it can reduce the need for regulation and have a convincing case for support in addressing future challenges and cost pressures. There is also an important economic dimension for the dairy supply chain and the industry’s major customers. They must work to ensure that the consumer is made aware of the investment made by British dairy farmers to improve the environment, and that they are encouraged to reward them for their efforts’. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/GEHO0906BLDH-e-e.pdf

NetRegs Learning About Agricultural Waste Try the interactive learning tool to find out what you have to do with your farm waste. Find out about hazardous waste, storing waste, transporting waste, agricultural waste exemptions, disposing of waste and animal carcass waste. Select the training option for your country from the choices below: Learning about agricultural waste - England Learning about agricultural waste - Northern Ireland Learning about agricultural waste - Scotland Learning about agricultural waste - Wales


Useful Contacts Environment Agency enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk www.environment-agency.gov.uk Tel : 0870 8506506

NFU nfu@nfu.org.uk www.nfuonline.com Tel : 02476 858500

Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers office@rabdf.co.uk Tel : 0845 458 2711

Milk Development Council info@mdc.org.uk www.mdc.org.uk Tel : 01285 646500

Dairy UK www.diaryuk.org Tel : 0207 486 7244


FURTHER ESSENTIAL READING The Full DEFRA Guidance on the New Environmental Civil Sanctions : The EA intends to start to use these new powers on 4th January 2011. “http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/policy/enforcement/pdf/defra-wagguidance.pdf”

PPG7 : Refuelling Facilities : Advice on how to protect the environment through the safe delivery, storage and dispensing of fuels. h t t p : / / p u b l i c a t i o n s . e n v i r o n m e n t - a g e n c y. g o v. u k / e p a g e s / eapublications.storefront

PPG18 Managing Fire Water and Major Spillages These guidance notes have been drawn up to assist in the identification of the equipment and techniques available to prevent and mitigate damage to the water environment caused by fires and major spillages. Download full Guidance at “http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/pdf/PMHO600BBUD-e-e.pdf”

PPG21 : Pollution - Incident Response : Good practice guidance to produce incident response plans for dealing with accidents, spillages and fires, to help protect the environment. h t t p : / / p u b l i c a t i o n s . e n v i r o n m e n t - a g e n c y. g o v. u k / e p a g e s / eapublications.storefront

PPG22 : Incident Response – Dealing with Spills : Advice on how to deal with spillages to avoid pollution. h t t p : / / p u b l i c a t i o n s . e n v i r o n m e n t - a g e n c y. g o v. u k / e p a g e s / eapublications.storefront

PPG26 : Safe Storage Drums and Intermediate Bulk Containers : The regulations apply to: tanks (can be permanent or temporary); drums greater than 200 litres capacity; intermediate bulk containers (IBCs); mobile bowsers. All above PPGs are available for download at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/pollution/39083.aspx


ENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITY DIRECTIVE 2004/35/EC : The Directive establishes a strong framework for environmental liability based on the "polluter pays" principle, with a view to preventing and remedying damage to animals, plants, natural habitats and water resources, and damage affecting the land. Where the polluter is at fault or negligent powers exist to ensure that the costs as well as any fines are allocated, in extreme cases prison sentences can be enforced. Download full Directive www.europa.eu PPG28 Controlled Burn This guidance will help you decide when and how to use a controlled burn as part of a fire fighting strategy to prevent or reduce damage to the environment. You should consider this guidance on a site by site basis when developing an incident response plan for your site. Download full Guidance at “http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/pdf/PMHO1005BJIT-e-e.pdf”

Fire Service Manual This Fire and Rescue Manual is the first manual within the Fire Service Operations series dedicated to the protection of the environment. This publication provides information and guidance designed to support firefighters, Fire Brigade Service managers, and trainers in their work at operational incidents, training events, and during day-to-day activities. Download full manual here “http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/fire/environmentprotectvol2”


If you have any questions about how to make your business safer for your staff and the environment please call 0800 731 9313 “www.environmental-innovations.biz”

IS YOUR SITE RIGHT? Use this Environment Agency 10-point checklist to help you make sure Storing and handling oils, chemicals and other risky materials 1. Are storage containers fit for purpose, regularly inspected and maintained? 2. Are storage areas and containers sited away from watercourses, drains and unsurfaced areas? 3. Do storage containers have secondary containment, such as a bund, to contain any leaks or spills? 4. Do you have procedures and training for safe delivery and handling of materials? Waste management 5. Is your storage and handling of waste safe and does it comply with the law? 6. Do you know where your waste goes? Are you sure it’s disposed of correctly? 7. Are you reducing and recycling your waste? Do it and save money.


Site Drainage 8. Do you have an up to date drainage plan of your site? 9. Is your site drained correctly? • only clean water, such as roof drainage, to surface water drains. • all contaminated water, such as sewage and trade effluent, to foul drain. Dealing with pollution emergencies 10. Do you have a plan, equipment and training to deal with pollution emergencies? If you answered ‘no’ to any question, or are unsure, use the Environment Agency’s “Pollution Prevention Pays – getting your site right” guidance available from their website or call us for advice 0800 731 9313

WARNING: Produced by Environmental Innovations Copyright 2011, Information contained in this Green paper is given in good faith and may represent the views and opinions of others, where information is sourced from third parties, copyright remains vested with those parties, reference are given to sources wherever possible from which readers are invited to seek confirmation of material facts, where we have expressed an opinion this should be treated as such rather than hard facts, therefore Environmental Innovations Limited or its staff can accept no responsibility for any losses consequential or otherwise for any errors, omissions, opinions stated or any other material contained within this document or from any of the embedded linked documents within.


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