Land application of uncollected milk in Scotland regulatory guidance

Multi-agency guidance has been prepared for dairy producers in Scotland whose milk is uncollected during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

SEPA expects people to have business continuity arrangements in place to ensure compliance with their SEPA permit or other environmental regulatory requirements during EU Exit and COVID-19. As SEPA responds to the impacts of the cyber-attack we will provide updates on our service status and support businesses. We are clear we expect everyone we regulate to continue to comply with Scotland’s environmental laws.

Where compliance with a SEPA Permit or other regulatory requirement is not possible for an individual site(s), a type of activity or for a sector, we may temporarily take a regulatory position that any failure to comply with those requirements will not be treated as a non-compliance for compliance assessment or enforcement purposes. This will be where that non-compliance is unavoidable and solely as a direct result of the impact of EU Exit or COVID-19 and will not lead to significant environmental harm.

We are only likely to consider taking a temporary regulatory position if the person contacts us at an early stage to advise us of a non-compliance or potential non-compliance, and we are satisfied that:

  • they have taken all reasonable steps to try and maintain compliance;
  • they will adequately manage any risks of harm to the environment or human health arising from the non- compliance.

If we take a temporary regulatory position we expect the person to:

  1. Tell us as soon as possible when they have, or will, become non-compliant;
  2. Comply with conditions attached to a temporary regulatory position
  3. Continue to meet all other Permit conditions or other environmental regulatory requirements not covered by a temporary regulatory position
  4. Return to compliance as quickly as possible. Any temporary regulatory position we take is likely to be time limited (normally to three months) but if the person can return to compliance quicker we will expect them to do so;
  5. Prevent and mitigate harm to the environment or human health;
  6. Follow the waste hierarchy in making waste management decisions and when waste is sent for re-use, recycling or disposal send it to a suitably authorised site.

SEPA expects people to have business continuity arrangements in place to ensure compliance with their SEPA permit or other environmental regulatory requirements during EU Exit and COVID-19.  We are clear we expect everyone we regulate to continue to comply with Scotland’s environmental laws. 

Where compliance with a SEPA Permit or other regulatory requirement is not possible for an individual site(s), a type of activity or for a sector, we may temporarily take a regulatory position that any failure to comply with those requirements will not be treated as a non-compliance for compliance assessment or enforcement purposes. This will be where that non-compliance is unavoidable and solely as a direct result of the impact of EU Exit or COVID-19 and will not lead to significant environmental harm.

Multi-agency guidance has been prepared for dairy producers in Scotland whose milk is uncollected during the COVID-19 public health emergency and where, unfortunately, disposal by land application at the farm where it was produced becomes necessary. We have developed this guidance with:

  • Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA);
  • Scottish Government;
  • Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Division (SGRPID).

The National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) and the Scottish Dairy Hub are both aware and supportive. Disposing of milk to land is subject to Animal By-Products legislation enforced by the APHA. We have included pollution prevention measures alongside precautions set out by the APHA. SGRPID has offered advice to farmers on meeting Nitrate Vulnerable Zone requirements.

Land application of uncollected milk in Scotland regulatory guidance

Contact information

If you are unable to comply with this guidance please contact us before applying milk to land.

Need help to manage the impact of coronavirus on your business? Visit FindBusinessSupport.gov.uk  for information on government coronavirus funds.