Beware of New Rules Farmers Warned

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), April 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

Beware of New Rules Farmers Warned


Byline: EUGENE MCBRIDE, SENIOR COUNTRYSIDE MANAGEMENT ADVISER, DARD

THE Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003, commonly known as the SSAFO Regulations, came into effect on July 21, 2003.

These Regulations will have implications for all farmers.

The Regulations set minimum legal standards for storage facilities for silage, silage effluent, slurry and agricultural fuel oil and aim to prevent pollution from agricultural sources.

The Environment and Heritage Service (EHS), an agency of the Department of the Environment, is responsible for enforcing these Regulations.

The Regulations apply to all new structures, substantially reconstructed structures, or substantially enlarged structures completed after December 1, 2003.

They require all new structures be constructed with a design life of 20 years.

This means that the installation is expected to last, with proper maintenance, for 20 years without causing, or being at risk of causing, pollution.

When a structure has been substantially enlarged or substantially reconstructed the Regulations usually apply to the complete structure and not just the newly extended or reconstructed part.

A chartered structural or civil engineer, the building contractor and the farmer will be asked to submit a signed declaration that the structure has been constructed in accordance with the regulations.

Structures that were in use or completed before December 1, 2003 can normally be used without alteration, and are referred to as 'exempt structures'.

Farmers should ensure that 'exempt structures' do not give rise to a significant risk of pollution.

EHS must be notified in writing about a new, substantially enlarged, or substantially reconstructed structure at least 28 days before it is used. This includes substantial enlargements and substantial reconstructions to exempt structures.

A notification form is available from the EHS Agricultural Regulations Team. EHS may inspect structures they are notified about, to assess compliance with the SSAFO Regulations. …

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