With the recent news of proposals to change slurry spreading regulations around the country, Mr. Michael Fitzmaurice had his say on the matter.
Speaking after the announcement of the news, Mr. Fitzmaurice said should the proposed changes go ahead that contractors and farmers affected should be compensated.
Fitzmaurice says these restrictions could cost farmers and contractors approximately €35million per year. He says this would be made up by Government grants for machinery upgrading.
He said the news comes after proposals being outlined in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) Clean Air Strategy paper.
He also said that these new rules, if imposed, will lead to the use of modern low emission methods of spreading slurry instead the splash plate techniques. He said "This comes as there are reports this week that farmers could be hit with with new rules on how they spread slurry in the attempt to reduce emissions. The latest proposals have been outlined the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) Clean Air Strategy paper. The new rules will require the use of modern low emission slurry spreading techniques such as trailing shoe/hose instead of the traditional ‘splash-plate’ technique".
Mr. Fitzmaurice also told us how he has submitted a detailed report on the issue earlier in the year, and says he found that these changes would mean extra costs for farmers, "I submitted a detailed submission on this issue to the department earlier this year and in that submission I made the following observation- 'Should the Government wish to pursue less and restrict or ban splash plate slurry spreading then the cost for farmers and contractors of upgrading their equipment must be funded entirely through Government grants as to expect operators to upgrade perfectly good equipment in order to comply with new regulations is unreasonable'
He followed up by again stating that these proposals if implemented will lead to grants been needed and provided by the government to make up for farmers needing new machinery, he said “That remains my position and if these proposed new rules became a reality I am proposing that grants for the upgrade of spreading equipment will be provided by the Government”
He concluded by saying he will be putting questions to the department and minister Creed on the issue, “I will be putting down questions to the Minister and the Department on this matter to see how far advanced they are with these proposals. Submissions made by myself and many others should be taken into account when arriving at their overall policy on clear air and emissions otherwise there is not much point taking the time to submit them in the first place".