Braes residents calling for ban on human slurry spreading

The old Craigend brickworks site near Standburn has a mobile licence to treat sewage which is used to fertilise fields. Picture: Michael Gillen (141718A)
The old Craigend brickworks site near Standburn has a mobile licence to treat sewage which is used to fertilise fields. Picture: Michael Gillen (141718A)
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Steps are being taken to try to improve control of slurry spreading which sees rural communities plagued by horrendous smells every year.

Last week, Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald hosted a meeting in Slamannan with enforcement agencies and residents to address public concerns about the spreading of human waste in fields each year.

Residents in the Braes area say smells from human sludge spread in fields are intolerable and want a ban or tighter controls

Residents in the Braes area say smells from human sludge spread in fields are intolerable and want a ban or tighter controls

Residents in the Braes area are subjected to the smells when farmers spread slurry.

James McCaig Farms which operates from a site at the old Jawcraig brickworks near Slamannan is a local 
supplier of this fertiliser.

Members of four different community councils are working together to address the issue and are calling for a complete ban on slurry spreading, saying it is detrimental to health and causes intolerable smells.

Mr MacDonald has called on the Scottish Government to “review the practice of sewage sludge spreading and the effectiveness of controls and enforcement powers”.

He said: “Residents’ representatives raised a number of concerns regarding the issue, and all the points were taken on board by the regulators.

“It was clear, however, that the regulators have already had their own concerns 
regarding some of the operations locally and are actively pursuing the issue.”

Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse has promised to commission a review to “ensure that this activity meets public expectations”.

A spokesman for SEPA said it has already taken action in the area to “prevent environmental pollution” and would take appropriate action in future.

CALL TO FOLLOW EU LEAD

The community councils of Maddiston, Shieldhill & California, Reddingmuirhead and Wallacestone and Avonbridge are taking forward public concern on the issue.

John Wotherspoon of Maddiston Community Council said: “The situation in the Braes reflects how poor the law covering the processing, storage and spreading is and complaints by residents have been registered. The real answer is to ban the practice here as it is in other EU countries.”

A James McCaig spokesman said: “James McCaig supply and recycle bio-solids to local farms as a fertiliser and soil conditioner. We work closely with the regulators to ensure compliance and adhere to current legislation.”