Wednesday, 12 June 2013

"You'll have had your tea" update

Just a brief update and a copy of the reply by SEPA. I have edited out the names of individuals but you will get the jist of how pathetic the response.

From my visit to ****** ******* and the surrounding area last week I can update you of the following:

  • I walked the banks of the River *********** where possible and also inspected a number of locations downstream of the spreading activities.  I was reassured to find that the sewage sludge cake was not spread in close proximity to the river and other watercourses. ‘Buffer strips’ to protect the water environment were complied with and no sign of detrimental impact of the water course was found.

  • As you are aware odour from the spreading activities is regulated by Perth & Kinross Council Environmental Health and ******* ****  is dealing with this aspect of your complaint.

  • With regard to livestock being present whilst sewage sludge is being spread.  I did not find evidence of this during my own site investigations.  I am aware that Animal Health (AHVLA) were visiting ******** **** farm on the same day as my visit and they shall carry out their own investigation into this matter.  As mentioned before SEPA do not regulate this aspect of the activity.  I shall pass on your photographs you provided to Animal Health and my colleagues in SGRPID (Scottish Government Rural Payments Inspection Directorate) for their own investigations.

  • With regard to livestock having access to the stockpiled sewage sludge cake, I have looked into this issue.  It is noted as ‘good practice’ to minimise access from livestock to stockpiles with recommendation for the storage area to be penned off.  This however is a recommendation and not a mandatory requirement of the regulations and PEPFAA code which farmers and land managers must adhere to.  I have contacted ORAN Environmental Solutions who provide the sewage sludge cake and register the storage of this waste with SEPA.  I have made them aware of SEPA’s concerns with good practice not being followed and requested more information be provided to farmers to encourage livestock access to stockpiles is minimised where possible. 

If I have anymore information with regard to SEPA’s investigation into this issue I shall contact you accordingly,

Thank you again for your information,



A pathetic response, in my opinion. At least, the 'good practice' could be tightened up and at best, the sludge removed from being stockpiled near humans and animals.

So the lamb pictured nibbling the human sludge - that is ok? The lamb kebab that it may become one day, is that ok as well?
The majority of beef/ lamb producers adhere to the strictest guidelines in Europe, Scottish produce being second to none so I think it is imperative to keep the vile practice of spreading human sewage and lime well away from the food chain or better still ban it all together.

I received this letter from a friend in Northern Ireland and was shocked at the contrast.

"We live on a livestock farm in County Down. What I was going to say was the treatment your family have received is in conceivable to us! My husband reliably informs me that the EU directive states that it is illegal to spread slurry, manure or fertiliser within 50 metres of a water supply - ie bore holes or a well. We also need a special licence to spread human waste. He states that they would get a massive fine and lose all their single farm payment!

NI is always considered to be behind the rest of the UK, it just would not go on here. Our press would have an absolute field day. Our rural community here would not tolerate the treatment you have had to put up with. My husband states it would make our main news! I was especially saddened when you told how your daughter couldn't start a wee business.

Could you let us know if there is anything we can do from here. I
would just like to say that we love your blog and are horrified by what is going on".


"My husband has checked DARD NI's regulations and they state that animals should not be allowed to graze for 3 weeks, on land that has had human sludge applied. It also states that : ' Organic manures must not be applied within 250 metres of a bore hole used for public water supply. We have an EMERGENCY contact number for the public to report slurry etc getting into a waterway.

I really don't know how you do it! Journalism in NI is first rate due to 'The Troubles'. Is there no TV programme in Scotland that exposes injustices? Our MPs would be inundated with complaints. The minister responsible for the environment would take a pasting in our Assembly if he was found to be ignoring activity such as you describe.

It all seems so wrong to my husband and I. Farming is a hard life as it is, without being subjected to the trials and tribulations you face on a daily basis. Feel free to use any of this for your blog. I only wish that there was something we could do.

Keep your chin up - someone somewhere in Scotland has to care enough to do something to improve your lives and the lives of others in the same position."

Closer look just beside the house and well within the 50 feet the sludge must be kept from a water course.

I have posted a photograph of the waterway which 'has not been hit' and you can decide for yourself bearing in mind that the waterway is where the lead pipe which feeds water to two houses lies. The estate have acknowledged there is a crack in the pipe in this area.
For the record, every inhabitant in our tiny community are still experiencing unusual symptoms which range from burning eyes, burning lips and mouths, burning skin, vomiting and stomach upsets.

Lamb is also off the menu......


  1. Hello, I'm here via Downsizer friends.Your predicament is awful... I do have the contact of someone at STV, though I believe they don't usually deal with this kind of story. Would you like me to pass this on?

  2. Thank you, Donna.

    I will ask my neighbours what they think but I know we have all been struggling to be heard. I feel that the potential damage to the Scottish Lamb industry, tourism, wildlife and waterways is enormous. People want to know what they are eating and where they are walking. (Needless to say, there are no warning signs up to advise when the ground is considered 'safe' for animal grazing and for humans to walk on).

    It would be interesting to have an informal chat with STV to see what they think.

  3. What a pathetic response from SEPA.

  4. Wonderful exercise in wilful blindness...did the so and so have a white stick when doing what is laughingly called an inspection...

  5. Urgh, I've only just caught up with all your recent posts and to say that I'm disgusted by how you've all been treated would be an understatement. There is absolutely no excuse for this at all!

  6. GO, FYI -

    If Jim Walker, past President of the NFU says waste should be immediately ploughed in, why is it that SEPA are defending bad practice?