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Manure/slurry treatment

Option closed to new applications

Introduction/What is this about?

Support for means of converting livestock manure into products which are easier to handle for agricultural benefit or which (e.g. biogas) have a non-agricultural use. The Option is designed to facilitate the treatment of slurry and manure (including dung and farmyard manure, FYM).

The methods under consideration are the anaerobic digestion of slurry to produce biogas and the treatment of manure by composting. Research funded by the Scottish Government as part of studies related to achieving good Bathing Water quality has shown that these are technically feasible, but that they involve substantial initial costs. They can help reduce the risks of diffuse pollution of the water environment.

What will this achieve?

  • Anaerobic digestion is used to produce and capture methane (biogas), which is thus a form of renewable energy, which can be used on the farm.
  • There is some evidence that anaerobic digestion converts some of the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in the slurry into N and P compounds that are more readily available for uptake by grass or other crops.
  • Composting converts manure, into a product which may be of more agricultural benefit than the raw manure, either because the nutrients are more readily available or because it is easier to handle.
  • Manure treatment can reduce the risk to human and animal heath from the pathogens in excreta.
  • The products of manure treatment can be expected to have a reduced Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) if they do get into watercourses.
  • Anaerobic digestion should result in a reduction of the emissions of methane and of the amount of ammonia lost to the air, thus making a contribution to climate change mitigation.

What you can do?

There is guidance in the PEPFAA Code applicable to all farmers on making the most effective use of slurry and manure for agricultural benefit and minimising the risks of diffuse pollution.

Farms with access to substantial quantities of the raw materials would be the natural places for such facilities for the treatment of manure.

Farmers should identify their needs for slurry and manure storage. SEPA approval is required for new or substantially altered slurry storage facilities under the terms of the Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (SSAFO) (Scotland) Regulations 2003. Building warrants will also be needed for new structures.

Who can apply?

The measure is applicable to livestock farms, including intensive pig or poultry units, that produce substantial quantities of manure or slurry.

Eligibility criteria

You need to be farming or in a farm-related business in Scotland. Contractors may apply in respect of a facility that would serve one or more farms. Collaborative applications are eligible.

Priority should be for areas with volumes of manure/slurry in excess of crop requirements. Such areas are liable to have a risk of the nutrients from the manure/slurry resulting in pollution of water, eutrophication and in some cases the contamination of bathing waters by faecal pathogens. The raw material of manure and slurry should be stored in ways that minimise the risk of water pollution.

Biogas can be produced from organic matter other than slurry, for instance abattoir waste products. Use of such matter may be a part of the plan, but it envisaged that the treatment of livestock manure should be the principal justification for an application.

For Renewable Energy items, i.e. Anaerobic Digesters, the following criteria must apply:

  • 51% or more of the energy produced would need to be for own consumption, carrying out or directly supporting agricultural activities. Applicants will be asked to demonstrate this, e.g. by providing meter readings of power consumed or details of the amount of fuel purchased over a given period
  • "own consumption" means consumption on farm business activity (the proposal can include power used in the farmhouse if this is the only or primary business base for the agricultural business. It does not however include electricity or heat use in holiday lets or other diversified business activities
  • Applicants who wish to generate power primarily for diversified parts of the business, must use the non-agricultural activity options under Axis 3.
  • Agricultural businesses wishing to install renewable capacity primarily to sell to the grid must apply under the Axis 3 Diversification Outwith Agriculture Option.

What costs could be supported?

Capital costs of

  • the construction of anaerobic digestion plant; or
  • facilities, including sheds, for the composting of manures.

To ensure value for money we require you to provide 2 competitive quotes for any capital items applied for which are based on actual cost. If, however, you are seeking grant support towards something so specialised it is only available through 1 source then we would accept 1 quote. Please see the guidance on quotes and estimates for more information.

Rate of support?

For non-LFA up to 50% of eligible costs. Plus 10% Young Farmer Premium if eligible*

For less favoured areas (LFA) up to 60% of eligible costs. Plus 10% Young Farmer Premium if eligible*

*To be eligible for the Young Farmer Premium, you must be a farmer or crofter who, at the time of committing a Proposal is:

  • 16 years of age or over, but under 40 years of age
  • the head of an agricultural business (either as sole proprietor; or as the majority partner; or as the equal partner with another farmer or farmers under 40 years of age)

Note: For the Young Farmer Premium a copy of your birth certificate or other proof of age is required. Companies are ineligible for the 10% Young Farmer Premium.


The following is a brief overview of the inspection procedures; for a full explanation please see links below:

Inspectors will check:

  • Compliance with PEPFAA Code
  • SEPA approval for new or substantially altered slurry storage
  • Building warrant / completion certificate for new structures

List of links to relevant technical guidance