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Volume 961: debated on Wednesday 31 January 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what restrictions exist regarding the use of agricultural slurry for spraying; and if he will take steps to regulate the use of extensive open slurry lagoons.

There are no such restrictions. If, however, such practices give rise to water pollution this might constitute an offence under the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Acts 1951 and 1965. I understand that the Royal Commission on environmental pollution is currently looking at questions related to open slurry lagoons, and my right hon. Friend shall of course consider any recommendation it may make.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what controls he has over the use and storage of slurry and, in particular, over the creation of slurry lagoons; and what studies or research projects he has initiated regarding the problems which agricultural slurry accumulation can create.

My right hon. Friend has no such powers. However, in terms of the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Acts 1951 and 1965 river purification authorities have powers to take action against farmers who cause water pollution resulting from slurry disposal operations.My Department carried out surveys of manure disposal system on intensive pig farms—1974—and intensive poultry farms—1976—in Scotland. Research and development projects relating to the problem of agricultural slurry have been commissioned with the Rowett Research Institute, the North of Scotland College of Agriculture and the West of Scotland College of Agriculture.