30 years of the Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations: time for a change?

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Date(s) - 2019.06.4
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Aqua Enviro


„Statutory Instrument 1989 No. 1263 – the Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations – are the lynchpin of the UK’s approach to land application of sewage sludges. They govern soil concentrations of various heavy metals where sewage sludges are applied. Although complemented by voluntary initiatives such as the Code of Practice for sewage sludge in agriculture; the safe sludge matrix and the Biosolids Assurance Scheme – the underlying regulatory requirements have not changed in three decades.

Those three decades have seen huge change in the water industry, and huge improvement in sludge quality. At the same time, we have witnessed the emergence of an organics recycling sector, as garden waste and then food waste have been diverted from landfill into composting and anaerobic digestion. In many cases, these materials are complementary, providing different fertiliser benefits to farmers – but their application to land is covered by different regulatory regimes.

This event will explore the sludge regulations in the wider context – to understand whether they can (or need to) address emerging contaminants, AMR and microplastics – and to explore the potential for future regulatory alignment that could deliver benefits across multiple sectors.”

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