Shropshire Star

Slurry pollution case costs Shropshire farmer more than £6,000

A Shropshire farmer has been ordered to pay more than £6,000 by a court after letting slurry from his dairy farm contaminate a nearby brook.


Phillip Manning had previously admitted a charge of discharging slurry in to the Reabrook Tributary.

He appeared at Shrewsbury Magistrates Court and was fined £725, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £72 and court costs of £5,677.88.

Ebony Mitchell-Whyte, prosecuting, heard that officers from the Environment Agency were called to Bank Farm in Minsterley, near Shrewsbury, on January 21 2014 after reports were received that slurry, which the 33-year-old had sprayed on one of his fields, had seeped through the hedgerow and spread on to a nearby road.

According to inspectors it was up to four inches deep in places.

She added: "The road was awash with slurry. A farm worker was in the process of scooping up the slurry with a digger and depositing in a nearby field. In one field the slurry was very thick and was running down, through the hedge and on to the road.

"Officers also found that a pipe was discharging slurry in to a nearby brook. The following day inspectors returned to the farm and found there was no longer a continuous run of slurry on to the road. Nor was the pipe discharging slurry in to the brook but there was a brown scum on the surface of the water.

"Further visits found that the slurry had pooled in to a wooded area which prevented it from carrying on further downstream.

"On talking to Mr Manning, the officers found that he had sprayed 3,000 gallons of slurry on one field and then a further 21,000 gallons the following day.

"I would say he showed wilful blindness in regard to the spreading of the slurry."

The court heard Manning ran the 200 acre farm in partnership with his mother and had 600 head of cattle.

Adrian Roberts, defending, said: "Slurry from the cattle in the milking parlour is collected in slurry pools which need emptying," said Mr Roberts. "He decides when to do this and he takes in to consideration the weather, the health of the field and how they have been spread previously.

"There had been a modest fall of snow on the day in question and it turned the slurry in to a type of slush. It moved down the field and escaped down the road. When he realised what had happened he tried to rectify the situation. This was an offence of negligence rather than recklessness."

Speaking after the case, Environment Agency officer Kate Byrne said: "Mr Manning has fully cooperated with the investigation and took prompt actions to stop the pollution.

"Farm slurry can be very polluting to rivers and it is important that all farmers take care to ensure that they can spread without causing pollution.

"Slurry is a valuable source of fertiliser on the farm and we encourage good nutrient management planning to help farmers get the best from this resource."

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