Northern Ireland Planning Service

Rooker Reduced Planning Burden For Farmers

Published on Thu, 1 Sep 2005
Environment Minister, Jeff Rooker is to change 'permitted development' rights and planning controls on storage for farm slurry.
The Minister said: "I have decided after recent consultation to extend the current 300 square metres maximum ground area for buildings or structures for the storage of slurry and manure to 600 square metres for a period up to 31 December 2007. This will apply in cases where these are separate or accommodating livestock.
"This will reduce a burden on farmers and guarantee that the time-consuming process of obtaining planning permission will not delay compliance with the Nitrates Directive.
"I have decided that any changes to permitted development rights for agricultural buildings and operations following my Department's review of permitted development rights last year will be postponed until after December 2007 and will be subject to further consultation.
"The necessary legislative changes to permitted development rights will be introduced as soon as possible."

Notes to Editors

  1. The Nitrates Directive seeks to reduce or prevent water pollution caused by the application and storage of organic manure and chemical fertiliser on farmland. The mandatory requirements include periods when the application of organic fertilisers (manure and slurry) is prohibited and a minimum storage capacity for livestock manure on farms.
  2. One of the proposed measures in the action programme to implement the Directive is a requirement for a minimum 22 weeks slurry storage capacity on the agricultural unit. Farmers will therefore require larger slurry storage than they have at present.
  3. Current Northern Ireland Planning permitted development rights allow agricultural buildings of up to 300 square metres ground area to be erected without applying for planning permission. However, it is estimated that up to 2000 farmers could need additional slurry storage facilities in excess of this size and would have to apply for planning permission.
  4. The current timetable for claiming grant aid from DARD towards the additional slurry storage arrangements, under the Farm Nutrient Management Scheme, requires works to be completed and grant aid claimed by the end of November 2006.
  5. While the Planning Service is committed to processing planning applications in time for works to be completed and grant claimed, the farming and livestock industry and elected representatives asked the Environment Minister to increase permitted development rights to reduce the number of applications needed and the cost in planning fees to farmers.
  6. The public consultation carried out in July 2005 showed that most people and most environmental groups responded in support of an increase in the ground area allowed under permitted development rights and to postponing further changes to agricultural permitted development rights until the Nitrates Directive is complied with.
  7. The increase in the ground area permitted to 600 square metres will significantly reduce the number of planning applications required for buildings or structures for the storage of slurry and manure either separately or in association with accommodation of livestock.
  8. News Media enquiries contact DOE Press Office on 028 9054 0003.

In this section