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Horse manure and waste management

In the UK, horse manure is considered to be a controlled waste and is subject to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.

If you store or spread horse waste near to water, it can be harmful to both the environment and human health. There are a number of simple steps you can take to manage and dispose of horse waste in a correct and safe manner.

Pollution Prevention Guidance - solid waste

You must use a suitably licensed facility to dispose of solid waste. Solid waste includes items such as:

  • contaminated bedding
  • food containers
  • faecal matter
  • empty chemical containers

Before using a composting plant, you must register it with the Environment Agency. You may not require a waste management licence for on-site composting, but the open burning of controlled wastes is an offence. However, uncontaminated wood, bark and plant matter are exempt - provided certain conditions are met. Using a civic amenity site is possible. You should contact the Environment Agency or your local authority to see which sites take industrial waste.

Clinical waste will need to be collected separately. This includes:

  • infected linen
  • bandaging
  • used syringes
  • empty medicine containers

This type of waste may be defined as special waste and has to be disposed of according to the cradle-to-grave notification procedure required by the Special Waste Regulations. This requires you to pre-notify the Environment Agency, by filling in a consignment note for the waste to be collected, and ensuring the waste is handled in a correct manner.

Common areas of pollution

There are a number of areas of pollution associated with stables, such as:

  • run-off from dirty yards
  • washing out of stables
  • soaking hay to suppress dust
  • exercise pools - due to the presence of treatment chemicals and associated sediments or solids

If your stables or livery yard is in a remote location, away from the mains drainage, there are common risks of pollution to watch out for, including:

  • the storage of oil - particularly heating oil
  • the storage of chemicals - including sterilizing agents, biocides, disinfectants and medicines
  • foul drainage - including that from associated houses and offices

To avoid any pollution, you should keep your premises secure, with properly designed and installed drainage and sound waste management and spillage control measures in place.

Further measures

You should direct the run-off from contaminated yards, manure heaps, stable washing and hay soaking to either an impermeable lagoon or a sealed effluent tank, where it can then be removed or land spread.

You should not spread the water used to backwash filters from exercise pools on land.

You should avoid locating temporary heaps of field manure where there is risk of run-off to cause pollution:

  • near field drains
  • within ten metres of a watercourse
  • within 50 metres of a spring, well or borehole that supplies water for human consumption

You may have to leave exercise pool water to stand for seven days after chlorination or other chemical treatment before disposing of it.

When disposing of waste to the sewer or receiving waters, you should take care to control the rate of discharge to prevent any sudden increase in flow that may cause harm.

You should store pool chemicals in a secure area or within a bunded storage area, preferably covered by a roof. The store should be sited on a solid base, with a surrounding wall that is resistant to chemical attack. There should be no drainage outlet, and chemical spillages should be contained and soaked up with an absorbent material. If chemicals enter or might enter surface water drains, you must contact the Environment Agency immediately.

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