When did the regulations become effective?
The NAP Regulations became effective on 1 January 2011. These Regulations replace and update the previous 2006 NAP Regulations which became effective in 2007.
The Phosphorus Regulations became effective on 1 January 2007.
What storage do I require on my farm?
The minimum requirement is 26 weeks for pig and poultry enterprises and 22 weeks for other livestock. You must provide adequate storage to cover the closed spreading period. You must also ensure that your storage is adequate to cover periods of adverse weather and soil conditions outside of the closed spreading period.
When is the closed period for applying organic manure?
Application of slurry, poultry litter and other organic manures, for example sewage sludge and abattoir waste is not permitted from midnight 15 October through to midnight 31 January.
Application of farmyard manure is not permitted from midnight 31 October to midnight 31 January.
There is no closed spreading period for dirty water. However land application restrictions apply to spreading of all fertilisers, including dirty water.
When is the closed period for applying chemical nitrogen fertiliser?
No application is allowed from 15 September to 31 January. However, chemical fertiliser can be applied to some crops, other than grass during this time, if a crop need can be demonstrated. An autumn grass reseed or winter sown cereal does not require nitrogen fertiliser at sowing.
Is there a closed period for farmyard manure?
Yes. Application of farmyard manure is not permitted from midnight 31 October to midnight 31 January.
Are there conditions outside the closed period when I cannot apply organic and chemical fertiliser?
- when soil is waterlogged; this is when water appears on the surface of the land when pressure is added
- when land is flooded or likely to flood
- when soil has been frozen for 12 hours or longer
- when land is snow covered
- if heavy rain is forecast within the next 48 hours
- where land is steeply sloping (that is an average incline of 20 per cent or more on grassland or an average incline of 15 per cent or more on all other land), where other significant risks of water pollution exist; risk factors to be considered include the proximity to waterways, the time to incorporation, the type and amount of fertiliser being applied and the soil and weather conditions
Further information is available in the NAP 2011 – 2014 and Phosphorus Regulations guidance booklet.
How close can I apply chemical fertiliser to waterways?
To within two metres of a waterway.
How close can I apply organic manure to waterways?
- to within 20 metres of lakes
- to within 10 metres of any other waterway, including open areas of water, open field drains or any drain which has been backfilled to the surface with permeable material such as stone/aggregate
- however, this may be reduced to 3 metres, provided the land has an average incline less than 10 per cent towards a waterway, and the organic manures are spread by bandspreaders, trailing shoe, trailing hose or soil injection; or where the adjoining area is less than 1 hectare in size or not more than 50 metres in width
- to within 50 metres of a borehole, spring or well, or
- to within 250 metres of a borehole used for a public water supply, or
- to within 15 metres of exposed cavernous or karstified limestone features (such as swallow-holes and collapse features)
Remember organic manures include dirty water, slurry, poultry litter, farmyard manure and other organic manure such as abattoir waste.
Does slurry have to be spread by a particular method?
Yes. Slurry must be applied close to the ground using spreaders with, for example inverted splashplate, bandspreader, trailing shoe, trailing hose soil injection or soil incorporation methods.
Sludgigator type spreaders and upward facing splashplates cannot be used.
Is dirty water subject to a closed period?
No. Dirty water may be applied to land throughout the year provided soil and weather conditions are suitable. Provision for the safe storage of dirty water should be available for periods when conditions are not suitable for land application.
Does dirty water have to be applied by a particular method?
Yes. Dirty water may be applied to land using the same methods that apply to slurry. However, dirty water can also be spread by irrigation. Sludgigator type spreaders and upward facing splashplates cannot be used.
What limits are there on the land application of livestock manure?
The amount of total nitrogen in livestock manures applied to the land, including by the animals themselves, shall not exceed 170 kg N per hectare per year. In Northern Ireland approximately 90 per cent of farms are working under this limit. Only intensive dairy, beef, pig and poultry farms tend to exceed this limit.
You can farm above 170kg N/ha/year to a limit of 250kg N/ha/year from grazing livestock, subject to your farm meeting certain key criteria. This is referred to as a derogation. Application for derogation must be made to NIEA on or before 1 March each year. Further information about this can be found in the NAP 2011 – 2014 and Phosphorus Regulations guidance booklet.
Are there limits on the land application of chemical P fertiliser?
Yes. Chemical Phosphorus (P) fertiliser must not be applied unless there is a requirement, taking account of the soil fertility status, and the supply of phosphorus from the application of organic manures. Soil fertility status can only be established through a soil test. The application of chemical phosphorus is limited to the individual fields or area sampled.
Where can I store farmyard manure?
Farmyard manure (FYM) should be stored in a midden with adequate effluent collection and storage facilities. If the effluent containment facilities are new, or substantially enlarged or substantially reconstructed (after 1 December 2003), they must comply with the British Standards specified in the SSAFO Regulations.
Farmyard manure may also be stored in a compact heap in the field where it is to be applied, but for no longer than 180 days. From 1 January 2013, FYM field heaps are still permitted, but for no longer than 120 days.
It must not be stored in the same location of the field year after year and must not be stored on land that is waterlogged, flooded or likely to flood.
Are there any restrictions on where I can store farmyard manure heaps in relation to waterways or underground strata?
Farmyard manure heaps must not be stored within:
- 50 metres of lakes
- 20 metres of any other waterway, including open areas of water, open field drains or any drain which has been backfilled to the surface with permeable material such as stone/aggregate
- 50 metres of a borehole, spring or well
- 250 metres of a borehole used for a public water supply
- 50 metres of exposed cavernous or karstified limestone features (such as swallow-holes and collapse features)
Who is responsible for inspection and enforcement?
Inspection and enforcement of the NAP and Phosphorus Regulations will be carried out by Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), an agency within the Department of the Environment. Their officers carry photographic identification (a warrant card) that authorises them to carry out inspections.
NIEA aims to protect and conserve the natural and built environment and to promote its appreciation for the benefit of future generations. One of the ways that NIEA will seek to protect and conserve the environment is through the consistent and fair application of legislation. They will work co-operatively with those they regulate and will offer information and advice where appropriate.
NIEA can be contacted during office hours by telephoning 028 9262 3280.
In an emergency, contact the NIEA Water Pollution Hotline: 0800 807060.