Agricultural slurry an increasing problem to the environment: A comparative study of controls in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark

Hartley, Peter Derek (1994) Agricultural slurry an increasing problem to the environment: A comparative study of controls in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Pollution of watercourses from farm waste have been steadily increasing mainly as a result of deliberate or accidental discharge. A number of factors have contributed to this steady increase; the increase in intensive livestock farming has generally occurred without the necessary improvements in collection, storage and disposal facilities, facilities to separate rainwater from yard washings and slurry lagoons and finally the relatively low levels of fmes imposed of farmers for causing pollution.
Difficulties exist in obtaining a precise relationship between agricultural practices and environmental problems. This is because of the diffuse source of residuals from agriculture and the many factors that are involved, some of which are not controllable by man. The factors include topography, precipitation, cover crop, timing and location of chemical or fertiliser application, and cultivation practices.
Agricultural pollution accounts for approximately 20 per cent of all water pollution incidents recorded by the water authorities in England and Wales. Howewr, it is clear that the problem is much greater from the survey undertaken by North Wets Water
Authority which visited all faims in four catchments in Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire in 1987. Despite advanced warning of sites, about 40-50 per cent of the farms were found to be causing or likely to do so if no changes to facilities were made.
It is easy to overlook animal slurry as a potential pollutant when considering the impact of agri-chemicals on the water environment. Whilst not as significant a source as some others, nonetheless it should not be ignored.
The aim of this paper is to examine whether or not the voluntary approach adopted by the UK in its control of agricultural waste is effective in order to protect the water environment or whether a more legalistic approach such as that adopted by both the Netherlands and Denmark would prove more effective.

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