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Agriculture: Sewage

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to amend his Department’s guidelines on spreading sewage sludge on farmland to prohibit the spreading of sewage sludge on farmland adjoining villages and other centres of population. (171840)

When carried out in accordance with best practice, spreading sewage sludge to agricultural land can be a sustainable activity which improves the soil and provides nutrients for plant growth. The activity is currently controlled under the Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 1989, which set standards and application regimes for treated sludge, and require septic tank sludge to be worked into soil as soon as possible after spreading.

The Government are currently considering whether amendment of the regulations might help to address the concerns of residents in the vicinity of sludge spreading, particularly with regard to septic tank sludge, and whether alternative approaches, such as updating the code of practice for sludge spreading, might be appropriate.