NFU and NPA Gain Support Against IPPC Changes

UK - In an unprecedented move, Defra farming and environment minster Jane Kennedy will travel to Brussels with the National Farmers Union (NFU) and National Pig Association (NPA) to lobby MEPs ahead of a critical vote in the European Parliament on the Integrated Pollution Prevention Controls Directive (IPPC).
calendar icon 4 March 2009
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The minister, along with NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond and NPA chairman, Stewart Houston, will meet with key MEPs today (4 March) to lobby against changes to the directive. It is feared the changes will impact on more pig and poultry farms, farms with feed mills as well as the glasshouse sector. Existing IPPC pig and poultry farmers will also be burdened with further controls and more administrative red tape.

"The support of the minister in our joint lobby is extremely welcome and adds significant weight to our calls to MEPs to vote against extension in scope of the IPPC Directive, said Mr Raymond.

"IPPC is by far the most comprehensive environmental regime and the NFU has long questioned its appropriateness to control emissions from pig and poultry units. Borne out of a regulation that was initially designed to apply to large industrial processing sectors, such as power stations, it does not lend itself well to use in agriculture or horticulture.

"The effects of the changes could be very serious, adding significant costs and burdens to smaller units, and we are seriously questioning whether the original intention of the directive was to bring in these smaller pig farms, more free-range poultry units, seasonal turkey production or protected crop production under glass.

"The vote in plenary on 12 March is a key milestone in the shape of the final directive. We want MEPs to recognize that agriculture and horticulture are different to other businesses within IPPC. Most are small, one or two person businesses with limited capacity to manage the very broad nature of IPPC and what is needed to fulfill implementation and compliance.

Stewart Houston said, "The proposed measures will have a catastrophic effect on small family pig units, which already have a modest environmental footprint - and all to very little purpose. The European Commission's own consultants have determined that existing law, such as the Nitrates Directive and the Water Framework Directive, already micro-manage these farms' environmental performance. The new nitrogen totting up procedure alone will, if it becomes law, drive many family pig farms out of business. The cost to these farms will be considerable and the added bureaucratic burden will be untenable.

"IPPC is already unfit for purpose and if these changes are approved, they will become a millstone round farming's neck, without delivering any significant benefit to the environment."

Adding her weight to the lobby, farming minister, Jane Kennedy, said, "The EU's proposals to extend the remit of the IPPC will unfortunately do more harm than good. I am pleased that industry leaders have joined me in coming to Brussels to lobby MEPs on the UK position. It will help them understand why we oppose aspects of the extension of the IPPC directive

"Pig and poultry producers in the UK are already adhering to tough environmental standards and are an example to the rest of Europe of how the industry can minimise its environmental impact."

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