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News Release

By The Planning Service

Planning Permitted Development Rights for Agricultural Buildings and Operations

The purpose of this consultation is to obtain views on a possible change to planning permitted development rights to facilitate compliance with the action programme being finalised by the Department of the Environment (DOE) and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) for implementation of the Nitrates Directive.

The Nitrates Directive seeks to reduce or prevent water pollution caused by the application and storage of organic manure and chemical fertiliser on farmland. A joint DOE/DARD consultation on the action programme to implement the Directive commenced on 21 February 2005. One of the proposed measures in the action programme is a requirement for a minimum 22 weeks slurry storage capacity on the agricultural unit. Farmers will require larger slurry storage than they have at present. Where this development is not possible under planning permitted development rights, they will need to apply for planning permission.

For a significant number of farmers (estimated by DARD at around 1,200) the additional slurry storage facilities will require an application for planning permission. Furthermore, there is a timetable for claiming grant aid towards the additional slurry storage arrangements (under the Farm Nutrient Management Scheme State Aid Approval, works must be completed and grant aid claimed by the end of November 2006) and for implementation of the Directive by 1 January 2007.

The farming and livestock industry has expressed concern that farmers are not only being faced with having to make major investment in storage, but are being frustrated by the bureaucracy and costs associated with having to obtain planning permission. Consideration is therefore being given to extending PD rights to reduce the number of slurry tanks requiring applications for planning permission and thereby assist with the implementation of the Directive. The purpose of the consultation paper is to explain the change requested and take views.