Advice on the key environmental impacts from and the documents/information required for agricultural developments which incorporate livestock activities

Key environmental considerations

The key environmental impacts from agricultural developments  which incorporate livestock activities include:

Nitrogen/ ammonia emissions/ deposition

  • possible direct toxic effects on vegetation
  • nutrient enrichment effects on crops, plants and water
  • increased acidification of soil
  • reduced biodiversity
  • habitat damage (including bogs, heathlands, woodlands and low nutrient grasslands)

Run-off contaminated with organic matter i.e. from manure / slurry / litter or contaminated areas around housing

  • increased biochemical oxygen demand of watercourses
  • nitrogen and phosphorus levels in excess of crop requirements in soil
  • nutrient leaching to watercourses and groundwater causing nutrient enrichment.
  • potential for increased mineral and metal content of soils

Dust

  • potential nutrient enrichment of water
  • potential impacts on air quality
  • potential damage to vegetation

Odours

  • nuisance to residents and other users of the locality when at concentrations uncharacteristic of the area

The effects of emissions from an installation can be varied and depend to a large degree on the type and proximity of receptors to the installation.  Sensitive receptors include designated areas such as Areas of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas, and Northern Ireland priority habitats.  Emissions can cause adverse impacts at some distance from the development site.

Documents/ information required

The following lists the documents/information required to ensure that DAERA can provide a substantive response:

Agricultural Development Datasheet

Development details

  • site access arrangements
  • position of all buildings and associated infrastructure
  • numbers of livestock to be housed in the proposed installation including any existing buildings
  • full Drainage Plan (demonstrating compliance with Nitrates Action Plan and Silage Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil Regulations)

Surveys/ assessments

Air impact assessments e.g.

  • screening tools (ammonia, odour, dust emissions) e.g. SCAIL (Simple Calculation of Atmospheric Impact Limits)
  • detailed Air Dispersion Modelling (ammonia, odour, dust emissions) e.g. ADMS; AERMOD models

Mitigation/ compensation

Nutrient Management Plan,  Manure/Litter Utilisation, Contractual Agreement,  or Export Agreement required for:

  • poultry
  • pigs
  • cattle

Dust Management Plan 

(where total livestock numbers exceed the thresholds for intensive poultry and pig units under the PPC Regulations*): 

  • poultry - 40,000 bird places
  • pigs – places for 750 sows or 2000 production pigs over 30 kg (A requirement of the permitting process where a proposal will be subject to a PPC permit)

Odour Management Plan 

(where total livestock numbers exceed the thresholds for intensive poultry and pig units under the PPC Regulations*): 

  • poultry - 40,000 bird places.
  • pigs – places for 750 sows or 2000 production pigs over 30 kg (A requirement of the permitting process where a proposal will be subject to a PPC permit)

(* The Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013)

Further Guidance

  • Intensive agriculture standing advice
  • Nutrient Management Plan
  • Litter Utilisation plan
  • Ammonia Emission Dispersion modelling
Back to top