IPP victory for pig and poultry farmers

Pig and poultry farmers are celebrating after winning a victory in the fight against costly European pollution legislations.

Following 18 months of lobbying by groups including the National Farmers Union (NFU) and National Pig Association (NPA), EU environment ministers have reached a “political agreement” not to extend the scope of the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive.

The decision could save an estimated 230 additional poultry units and 600 pig units from costly IPPC controls, which would put many small farmers out of business.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: “I am delighted the EU Environment Ministers have listened to the NFU’s calls to halt the expansion of the IPPC Directive.

“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 NFU argues that IPPC controls, which were originally intended for larger power stations and industrial plants, are not suitable for agriculture and would bring limited environmental bring benefits to the livestock sector.

“The ministers have recognised that agriculture and horticulture are totally different to other businesses within IPPC," Raymond added. "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."

The agreement in Luxemborg marks the end of the first stage of EU IPPC negotiations. The second stage begins again later this year with a reading in Parliament to consider the EU environment ministers’ position. A final agreement is expected in 2010.

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