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Dear Mary,

I wonder if you have been made aware of the following

This year the dumping of human sewage sludge in the sea has been banned. Nationally.

Farmers are being contacted to take this waste for FREE and spread on the land for FREE. We have thousands of tons of this dumped on land near us and the STENCH is unbelievable. It has taken a month to lorry it to the field; the field has a stream at the bottom of it and the pile is within yards of a residential property.

We farmers have been encouraged via Water Authorities reports in the South West Farmer Journal that this waste is a beneficial fertilizer to the soil.

This puzzles me.

It is banned from the sea but suddenly it is now good for the soil. If this were so surely we would be made to pay for it. As far as I am aware such nasties as hormones - oestrogen - , antibiotics, cocaine(recent report in Telegraph - Thames awash with cocaine) heavy metals, chloros (via domestic use) cannot be filtered out of this waste.

We have had to put up with this STENCH for a month now and spreading has not even started. This sludge is treated with Lime and heated to kill pathogens.

Great. It is now sterile but still STINKS. It will contain no micro organisms to break this down and be taken into the soil.

Contrary to belief, rain does not wash it into the soil. The rain will only cause Diffuse Pollution. Micro organisms take manures etc into the soil and it will now be left to those in the soil to do the work - should there be any in arable land drenched with insecticides constantly.

We intend to find out more about this activity. Single Farm Payments rely on cross compliance but of course sewage sludge has its own little paragraph of rules which one has to apply for.

In a decade or so are we going to learn that this human sewage sludge is as harmful to the soil as it is to the sea?