Regulatory decisions for agricultural industries

Spreading waste milk on agricultural land

We have put in place a temporary measure to relax the usual rules that allow some farms to spread waste milk.

To spread waste milk on your land you will need to apply for a U10 exemption, which we have amended in light of the current situation, and demonstrate that you can meet the specific criteria to protect the environment.

More details can be found in the regulatory decision below.

Regulatory decision

Application of milk to land at place of production only – on-farm only.

This regulatory decision will be valid until valid until 30 September 2020.


For this regulatory decision to apply a U10 exemption must be registered with NRW.

This decision retains the requirements within the U10 waste exemption for storage, spreading limits per hectare, and spreading conditions but we will relax the spreading frequency to once every three weeks and the additional environmental protection conditions set out in annex 2. This is in line with COGAP.

Farms that cannot meet these requirements should contact NRW who will advise on a case by case basis.

Options to be fully appraised before any landspreading (recovery or disposal)

If my milk is not collected?

  • Contact your milk processor immediately to find out why collection has not taken place, what plans for future collection will be and if they will allow you to add milk from an additional day/s.

Options for uncollected milk?

  • If milk cannot be collected it should be stored in the bulk tank as normal for future collection, subject to the stipulations of your milk processor and hygiene requirements.
  • Explore and exhaust all other options for use of the milk produced before disposal. Retain documentary evidence of options of other uses sought
  • If you need to empty the bulk tank, the milk should be transferred to appropriate storage.
  • Ensuring that there is enough capacity and the store is of sound construction for the volume of milk.
  • If you do not have enough capacity on your own farm check if any suitable storage space is available locally on other farms that you can avail of temporarily. Note this may not be possible if farm under bovine tuberculosis restrictions.
  • Milk is highly polluting you must exercise care with its storage/transfer.

What happens if my slurry storage is full or no slurry store?

  • You should try to source alternative storage off-farm. Details of the location, dimensions of the tank(s) and usage should be recorded.
  • If you cannot find additional alternative storage, and you consider you have no alternative to land spreading follow the guidance below.

Spreading conditions for waste milk

Waste milk should only be spread to land if all other options for storage and use have been exhausted.

  • Your waste milk must be only spread on improved land which is of lowest risk of causing pollution. i.e. not steeply sloping and have a cover of vegetation.
  • Improved land with a high or fluctuating groundwater level is NOT deemed low risk.
  • Any existing legal requirements regarding the management of the improved land must be complied with e.g. The Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (Wales) Regulations, Glastir or SSSI contracts.
  • You must not spread waste milk if the land is: waterlogged or drained within the last 12 months, frozen or covered with snow or has been frozen for 12 hours or more in the 24 hours, or heavy rain fall forecast in the next 48 hours before you want to start spreading.
  • Spreading must not take place on bare soil, within 10m of any watercourse (includes ditches), 50m of any well, spring, borehole or in a groundwater source protection zone.
  • Do not apply more than 50 m3 of slurry or dirty water per hectare (4,500 gallons per acre) in a single application to reduce run-off risk. Pay careful attention on all sites to make sure that spreading does not cause ponding or run-off.
  • Leave at least 3 weeks between each application to reduce surface sealing and to let the soil recover.
  • Waste milk must be diluted with an equal or greater amount of water or slurry before it is spread
  • If waste milk is diluted with water or parlour washings, spreading should be at a reduced rate to that of slurry as run off risk is much higher.
  • Spreading should only take place when soil and weather conditions are suitable.
  • If spreading on maize stubble waste milk should be ploughed in immediately.
  • Spreading should be carried out using band spreader or dribble bar where possible to minimise odour.
  • Bullet points in green above are included within the existing COGAP requirements and should be followed for any application to land of organic manures.
  • You must keep records of where(fields), what (dilutant, % and rate) and when (date) the waste milk was spread on your improved land for 2 years.

You must make these records available to any officials who ask to see them.