NFU Scotland has slammed proposals from Scotland’s environmental body, SEPA, to “significantly hike” many of its charges, a move which the union says will be particularly serious for pig and poultry producers.
Responding to a consultation on the Environmental Regulation (Scotland) Charging Scheme for 2016, the union has informed SEPA of its opposition to any increase in charges that go beyond inflation.
NFUS is particularly angered by the huge increases being proposed for Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) regulated businesses which primarily operate within the pigs and poultry sector.
The proposals include a 596% rise in the charge for a technical variation to a PPC permit and an overall 81% increase for large PPC permits.
“While we broadly accept the principles that underpin any charging scheme, a further principle must be added, namely the ability of a business or sector to pay,” said NFUS vice president, Rob Livesey.
“Many agricultural businesses are operating on very small or no margins and returns in those pig, poultry and egg systems covered by PPC regulations are significantly worse that they were almost a decade ago.
“Through improved management and adoption of best practice, the environmental risk posed by intensive agriculture has improved significantly in recent years but gross margins have not. These businesses clearly have a reduced ability to pay and we can see no justification to increase charges.”