On 25 August 2021, the Environment Agency published its regulatory position statement (RPS) for the application of organic manure to agricultural land. This applies to land managers which includes anyone who has custody of, or the responsibility for, controlling agricultural land.
Normally, under regulation 4(1)(a) Reduction and Prevention of Agricultural Diffuse Pollution (England) Regulations 2018 (also known as ‘Farming rules for water’ or FRfW), when you apply organic manure to agricultural land, the application must be planned so that it does not:
- exceed the needs of the soil or crop on that land or
- give rise to a significant risk of agricultural diffuse pollution
A reminder of your obligations under the FRfW can be found here .
Under RPS 252 you can have a plan to apply organic manure to agricultural land such that it exceeds the needs of the soil or crop on that land provided that you follow the conditions specified in the Statement. The plan must still not cause a risk of pollution.
Under the RPS, the EA define organic manure in the same way as the FRfW such that it is “made from one or more animal, plant or human sources.” This definition includes digestate from AD.
Examples of where you may not comply with Regulation 4(1)(a) of the FRfW include:
- unavoidable production of solid livestock manure or slurry, no available storage followed by spreading on cropped land with an application that exceeds the needs of the soil and crop.
- no available storage for treated sludge from sewage plants treating domestic or urban waste waters (biosolids), supplied within a contract with the sludge producer, followed by unavoidable spreading on cropped land with an application that exceeds the needs of the soil and crop.
If either of the points above apply to you, you may be able to use this RPS to apply manure that exceeds the current requirement of the soil/crop, however you must still be able to show that your planned applications to land do not exceed the crop requirements for the duration of your current planned crop cycle.
If using RPS 252 there are still conditions you must comply with such as contingency planning, how you spread and preventing pollution.
More details on the RPS can be found here.
Finally, if you plan on using this RPS to spread organic manure that exceeds the soil/ crop requirement you must tell the EA by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This is important so they know how many farms need the RPS to assess whether it should stay permanently.