Second round of slurry infrastructure scheme opens offering £74m grants

The grant scheme aims to tackle water pollution, improve air quality and make better use of organic nutrients (Photo: Defra)
The grant scheme aims to tackle water pollution, improve air quality and make better use of organic nutrients (Photo: Defra)

Defra has announced a further £74 million to help farmers invest in improved slurry infrastructure to tackle water pollution and improve air quality.

Applications are open for the second round of the slurry infrastructure grant which forms part of a total £200m being invested in slurry infrastructure and equipment.

The second round has more than double the funding on offer than the first round of the scheme to help meet increased demand.

Farmers can apply for grants of £25,000 to £250,000 to replace, expand, build extra and cover slurry stores, and fund equipment such as separators, reception pits and agitators.

Based on feedback, improvements have been made to the second round, including how much storage pig farms can apply for, offering grants towards a slurry separator, and the option to retrofit covers onto existing stores.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said it was vital that farmers were supported to make environmental improvements.

He said: "We’re indebted to farmers who work day in day out to ensure we have great British food on our tables while protecting and shaping our countryside.?

"Our slurry infrastructure grant is helping farmers to invest in infrastructure which is often costly but can deliver big benefits for our waterways and air quality, while also cutting their input costs.”

The grant aims to enable more farmers to go beyond existing storage requirements, supporting better compliance with regulation and more effective use of organic nutrients.

It is part of Defra's commitment to tackle nutrient pollution at source, meaning grants will be prioritised in areas near protected sites with ammonia pressures in nutrient neutrality catchments.

The National Pig Association (NPA) welcomed the second round's changes, as the grants now provide funding for pig producers to help improve slurry storage.

NPA chief executive, Lizzie Wilson said: "We are really pleased the storage has been increased to eight months as this brings many more pig farmers into play.

“We were involved in the development of the scheme and, while we didn’t get everything we wanted – for example, we pushed hard for more storage capacity and permeable as well as impermeable covers – this is a real improvement for pig farmers on round 1.

“We urge members to look at the guidance and consider applying if you think it could help your business."

Farmers interested in the scheme can find out how to apply for round two, who can apply and what the grant can pay for on Defra's website.