Responding to confirmation by the Scottish Government of changes to rules regarding slurry storage and spreading, Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur has called for specific support to farmers and crofters in the islands.
The Scottish Government has announced amendments to the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 that include the phasing out of broadcast spreading of slurries by splash plates and the introduction of low-emission, precision spreading equipment.
Slurry stores built prior to 1991, providing they are fit for purpose can be retained, but all farms keeping cattle must have adequate slurry storage of 22 weeks. The new regulations come into force on 1 January 2022 with some phased in over five years.
Responding to the news, Mr McArthur said:
"The proposed regulatory changes are aimed at reducing emissions and the risk of pollution.
"However, NFU Scotland are right to highlight the potential costs involved in meeting these new requirements. For some farm businesses, such costs could prove prohibitive at a time when the sector is facing a number of challenges.
"It is important, therefore, that Scottish Ministers put in place an appropriate package of support to allow this transition to take place.
"I am particularly keen to ensure any specific issues faced by island farmers are identified and support provided. This is something I will be picking up with Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon."