Slurry Storage – Planning Requirements

Finances are often a major concern to farmers, which frequently leads to farm improvements being put to the back of the queue of jobs to be done. The Government are currently looking at and running several grants for assisting farmers with the costs of improvements. This all comes under the umbrella of the Governments Farming Transformation Funds – improving farm productivity.


The latest scheme the Government is looking at is the ‘Slurry Investment Fund’, which DEFRA are looking to open in the Autumn of 2022. As suggested by the name of the fund, this grant will aim to upgrade the storage facilities on farms and will look to reduce the pollution issues and emissions caused by storing and spreading of slurry.  So whilst this funding will tackle the farmers big concerns of funding, the next concern we foresee (and where our expertise comes in) is the planning requirements for the upgrades.


One way DEFRA are looking to make improvements is through an increase in storage capacity with a likely minimum requirement of providing storage with at least 6 months’ of capacity. Due to the nature of slurry storage requirements, it is likely that any increase in capacity or improvements to slurry storage will constitute development and will therefore require planning permission or prior approval of some nature. Whilst permitted development rights are available, the structure must be a minimum of 400m away from any protected building – which is a building that is occupied by humans that is not part of the working farm. This is often a difficult parameter to meet, which leaves the option of utilising a full planning application which is more onerous in its application requirements and justification. Obviously, a full planning application process will be a lengthier process and costly one, but this is something that needs to be balanced with the potential benefits of Government grant where available to meet potential regulatory requirements.


There will clearly be other considerations to be had when assessing the requirements for creating more capacity or a new slurry storage facility, including regulations that govern where it should be located in relation to water courses, soil type, storage method, size required etc, but the planning permission and considerations surrounding this element is something that we at Eldnar Consultancy are both very familiar with and prepared to assist you with.  In one of Eleni’s previous roles, at Staffordshire County Farms, she was specifically responsible for investment and compliance with Nitrate Vulnerable Zones through calculation of slurry storage requirements, storage design, planning applications and supervision of construction on around forty dairy farms over a two year period.


If anyone is looking into applying for the funding once it is open, or needs assistance with securing permissions for storage requirements, we are happy to discuss your requirements with you.  You can find our details on the contact page where you can also book in for a fifteen minute mini chat if required.