Sligo County Council’s Environment Section has responsibility for maintaining the high quality of water, which exists and has a team of scientific and administration staff dedicated to this task. The Section works in partnership with all other relevant organisations, i.e. EPA, NWRFB, Teagasc, Forest Service etc. to achieve their goals. Given the potential for agricultural activities to cause pollution it is essential to strictly control agricultural practices that give rise to waste. Pollution can result from point or diffuse sources, point sources result from poor collection, storage and management of effluent while diffuse pollution typically arises from poor land spreading practices.
Sligo County Council requires 20 weeks effluent storage for all slurry and manure produced on farms. Land spreading of effluent must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of the ‘Code of Good Agricultural Practice to protect waters from pollution by Nitrates’. A copy of this document is available from Sligo County Council or your local Farm Advisor. Further guidance is also available in the booklet by Sligo County Council on ‘Working with Farmers to Prevent Water Pollution’.
When applying for planning permission for agricultural developments, applicants must ensure that they use the most up to date Agricultural Planning Application Form available from the Planning Section of this website or from the Planning Office. Applicants should also submit adequate information as detailed in the Agricultural Guidance Note, which accompanies this form. This will speed up the planning process by avoiding the need to request ‘further information’ and will ensure that the proposed development is environmentally sustainable.
In the past two years over 300 farm surveys have been carried out, in conjunction with the North Western Regional Fisheries Board. The purpose of these surveys are to ensure that agricultural activities including effluent storage and land spreading are carried out in such a manner as to ensure that environmental pollution does not occur. Potential problems are addressed using the provisions of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts, 1977 and 1990.
Education and Awareness
The Council has an on-going educational campaign for farmers in the County which aims to increase awareness of the problems that farming activities can create. This includes, press releases, presentations to farming groups and an environmental leaflet on good farming practice. This leaflet includes topics such as land spreading, effluent storage, nutrient management planning, etc.
Slurry spreading during wet conditions increases the risk of water pollution. Sligo County Council strongly advises against spreading in poor conditions, particularly in wintertime when weather conditions are poor, soils are water logged and plant growth is low. A combination of such factors will cause effluent to be lost to watercourses.
In bad weather conditions there is a high potential for pollution, but adhering to the following simple guidelines will reduce this risk:
Do not land-spread on wet or waterlogged soils.
Do not land-spread on frozen or snow covered lands.
Do not land-spread when rainfall is forecast within 48 hours.
Do not land-spread on steep slopes or ground with rock outcrops.
Do not spread from public roads.
Do not exceed The Code of Good Agricultural Practice prescribed application rates.