The NFU has won a significant victory for pig farmers regarding plans to review the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive.
More than 18 months of lobbying on behalf of pig and poultry farmers has resulted in an agreement reached by EU ministers. Meeting in Luxembourg, environment ministers have reached “political agreement”, marking the end of the first stage of EU negotiations, by agreeing not to extend the scope of the IPPC controls.
A significant number of small family farm businesses stood to be affected including an estimated 230 additional poultry units; 600 pig units; and affect at least half of the UK’s protected edibles sector.
Throughout the negotiations the NFU has continually questioned the appropriateness of the controls for agriculture and horticulture, which were originally intended for larger power stations and industrial plants, and the actual environmental benefits they would have provided.
The changes had the potential to bring in a significant number of additional smaller farms as well as small combustion plant on horticultural units.
NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said: “I am delighted the EU Environment Ministers have listened to the NFU’s call to halt the expansion of the IPPC Directive. They have recognised that agriculture and horticulture are totally different to other businesses within IPPC.
“Most are small, family-run businesses with limited capacity to manage the very broad nature of IPPC and what’s needed to fulfil implementation and compliance.
“We worked closely with our European colleagues in COPA-COGECA and our government representatives in Brussels to raise our concerns across Europe. IPPC is by far the most comprehensive environmental regime we have seen and the effects of these changes could be very serious, adding significant costs and burdens, especially to smaller pig and poultry units.”
The second stage of IPPC negotiations begins again later this year with a reading in Parliament to consider the EU Environment Ministers’ position. A final agreement is expected in 2010.