British Standards Relevant to Agriculture

British Standard Summaries

BS5502: Part 31: 1995
Building and Structures for Agriculture.
Guidance on the Storage and Handling of Waste

The text herein is not a a full reproduction of the British Standard. It is summary based upon interpretation of the original text and not intended as a replacement for the full text. It should be used for general guidance only.

BS5502 is sub-divided into a number of individual standards. These can be broadly broken down as follows:

  • Part 0: Introduction
  • Parts 10 - 19: Reference information
  • Parts 20 - 39: General designs
  • Parts 40 - 59: Livestock buildings
  • Parts 60 - 79: Crop buildings
  • Parts 80 - 99: Ancillary buildings

BS5502 Part 31 provides provides guidance on buildings and structural aspects of agricultural and horticultural waste storage and handling especially issues required to prevent environmental pollution caused by liquid effluents. This Standard excludes chemicals, medicines, fuel oils and domestic, commercial and industrial waste products.


  • Water pollution can be caused by leakage and runoff to surface waters and drainage and leaching to groundwaters.
  • Livestock wastes and silage effluent whilst valuable as fertilisers can cause pollution. These wastes are responsible for the majority of significant agricultural pollution incidents in England and Wales.
  • Livestock houses and the handling, spreading and storage of livestock wastes may cause odour problems.
  • Many agricultural wastes have high BODs.
  • The pH of farm wastes can vary depending on the source material. Some, such as silage effluent and wash water from dairys, can be very acidic. Others, such as livestock slurries, are alkaline. Appropriate storage construction materials and methods should be employed to deal with the specific waste to be handled.
  • Procedures used to operate agricultural waste storage and handling operations must minimise all risks of pollution.
  • Annex A of the full Standard provides details of how to determine waste storage requirements.



  • Planning permission will be required for any new, altered or extended slurry storage facility within 400m of any protected building.
  • Slurry and dirty water handling facilities should be in accordance with BS5502:50.
  • Silos should comply with BS5502:75.
  • Draw up a waste managment plan for disposing of livestock wastes to land in accordance with the guidance given in the Water Code.


  • Attention is drawn to BS5502:11.
  • The Air Code and PEPFFA Code provide guidance useful for avoiding odour nuisances.

Design of waste storage facilities

  • Comply with all relevant British Standards.
  • Select the site such that due consideration is given to the risk of polluting any nearby watercourses.
  • Ensure facilities have sufficient capacity to safely store the maximum amount of wastes produced by the livestock on the farm prior to spreading and in accordance with any regulations or management agreements.
  • The full Standard provides details in storage capcity, durability, design life, impermeability, corrosion resistance and loadings.
  • Due consideration must be given to all health and safety issues.
  • Some farm wastes can decompose producing flammable, toxic or otherwise harmful gases. These risks must be managed in accordance with the COSHH Regulations.

Materials and construction

  • The full Standard details issues relating to the materials and their specification which should be used for waste storage and handling facilities. These include concrete, masonry, steel and timber.
  • The full Standard covers the following facilities:
    • Earth-banked compounds (lagoons)
    • Built slurry, dirty water and manure stores including weeping wall compounds
    • Channels and reception pits
    • Silos and silage effluent stores

A British Standard nor this summary does not, necessarily, include all the necessary information for correct implementation of the Standard to any specific application. This is purely the responsibility of the user. Standards are updated by either amendment or revision. Users should ensure that they are using the latest version.


The full text of this Standard can be obtained from the British Standard Institution

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