RP30: Floating covers for slurry and anaerobic digestate stores and lagoons

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the floating covers for slurry stores and lagoons item.

How much will be paid

£5.60 per square metre.

Where to use this item

Available for Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier, Higher Tier and Capital Grants.


  • in areas targeted for the reduction of water and air pollution from agriculture
  • on existing slurry or on-farm anaerobic digestate stores or lagoons
  • with support from a Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) officer

Where this item cannot be used

  • without relevant advice or consents from the Environment Agency (EA) or Local Planning Authority

How this item will benefit the environment

A floating cover for slurry and on-farm anaerobic digestate stores and lagoons will help to reduce the volume of dirty water that needs to be stored and spread. It will also improve air quality by reducing ammonia emissions.


  • install a floating cover with a minimum design life of 5 years (with maintenance)
  • install a rainproof floating cover on a slurry or anaerobic digestate store or tank
  • make sure the tanks or the lagoon’s earth banks are able to support the cover and fastening implements
  • install the cover when the store is empty
  • direct the rainwater away from the cover into a clean water drain or rainwater harvesting system
  • display signs to warn of the dangers of confined spaces and fragile covers
  • secure the cover to avoid wind damage and to prevent rainwater running off and mixing with contaminated effluent
  • place the cover on floats if needed
  • meet the requirements of the SSAFO regulations 2010 and Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) requirements
  • meet relevant British Standards - examine copies of the most up-to-date standards for guidance

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • receipted invoices, or bank statements where a receipted invoice is unavailable
  • photographs of site before works start

Please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the relevant manual Mid Tier, Higher Tier or Capital Grants for more detail.

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • photographs of the completed work

Before applying, applicants must seek advice from:

You do not need to provide this with your application, but you will need to submit consents/permissions with your payment claim.

Applicants will have to send the following with their application:

  • written support from a CSF officer

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this item.

How to get more detailed advice

Further design advice is available on how to size the loading and washdown area and holding tanks, and on pesticide washing volume calculations, from CSF.

Regulations for slurry stores

The slurry stores should meet the SSAFO regulations which cover the design, construction and maintenance of the stores.

How to maintain the drains

Drains should take rainwater from the cover, making sure it does not mix with effluent, and transport it to clean water ditches and drains. A pump may be needed to help transport the water.

Further information

More information about separating clean and dirty water is available from the Rivers Trust.

More information on using covers on circular slurry stores is available.

Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) operates in parts of the country where there are water quality issues linked to farming. The scheme provides farmers with free advice and training. See guidance for further information on CSF support.

Read more information about Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier, Higher Tier or Capital Grants to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 30 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. 'Air quality' added to Land use.

  2. Changes to wording in the following sections: Where to use this item, How this item will benefit the environment, Requirements and Keeping records.

  3. Title updated to include additional wording: 'and anaerobic digestate'. Added in links to Capital Grants manual as this option is now available for Capital Grants

  4. Information updated for applications in 2016

  5. First published.