English farmers in line for grants to tackle slurry air pollution

A new Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs scheme will pay out to agricultural businesses in a bid to help them reduce hazardous emissions.

Farmers in England will soon have the option to apply for grants up to the value of £250,000 which can improve slurry storage, which helps to bring down air pollution and can also tackle water contamination. 

silhouette of man riding tractor

According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), which is operating the programme, around half of all slurry stores in England are not fit-for-purpose, which leads to farmers spreading the fertiliser even when there’s no real need. The result is a waste of this essential resource, which leads directly to air pollution. 

Better management of facilities would substantially decrease the quantities of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium allowed to leak into the atmosphere and environment, which is an essential step in the road to reducing the level of pollution linked to agricultural practices. Figures suggest that 60% of nitrate pollution, 25% of phosphate and 87% of ammonia emissions come from farming, giving some idea as to how vital mitigation steps currently are. 

The Slurry Infrastructure Grant will be administered by the Rural Payments Agency, and the first round of applications will be welcomed on Tuesday 6th December. Guidance is available online, and the scheme will run over multiple years. Successful candidates can claim between £25,000 and £250,000 for improvement works. 

‘We know livestock farmers want to invest in slurry systems that support quality food production and protect the environment, but many are put off by high infrastructure costs and difficulty accessing finance,’ said Mark Spencer, Farming Minister. ‘The Slurry Infrastructure grant will tackle this, helping farmers to invest in future-proof slurry storage that supports thriving farms while cutting pollution and allowing nature to prosper.’

Read our recent feature by Defra’s new Air Quality Minister, Trudy Harrison, on the department’s involvement in a new transboundary forum focused on reducing emissions and ambient pollution. 

Image: Spencer Pugh




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