December 2014: A tough month of tackling bureaucracy

The environment team at BPEX has been keeping busy in the past month. Sue Rabbich has just about finished completely revising the model templates for IPPC (or EPR as it’s now called) permit applications, as reported in November’s Pig World.

The good news is the Environment Agency (EA) has found them really helpful. It still seems to require repetition of some information supplied, but is thinking about this while it reviews the introduction of its new application. Anyone doing an application or variation who wants copies and explanations please call Sue on 02476 478798.

In the meantime, Thomas Burling is picking up on the buildings and ventilation work; he’s itching to get out with the thermal imaging camera to assist producers to understand how their buildings are functioning, however the warm weather hasn’t been ideal for this task.

The priority for me at the moment is the second and final draft of the European Commission’s (EC) latest thriller, the Best Available Techniques Reference Document for the Intensive Rearing of Poultry and Pigs, or BREF. This is a technical document collating scientific evidence on how to produce pigs and poultry using resources efficiently and keeping emissions (ammonia, dust, noise, and excreted N and P) to a minimum.

From this evidence, the authors working at the EC’s Joint Research Centre at Seville will present the techniques, from feeding through to management, housing types, manures and slurry storage and spreading, that they consider will result in efficient use of resources and low emissions. They’ll present these to a working group of representatives of Member States.

That’s quite a challenge when you think of the different climatic and social regions involved. Especially when approved farms with permits will only be allowed to use the techniques described.

It’s important we check all the details and intervene where necessary. That’s all fine, apart from the fact that the first draft was incomplete when consulted on, and we only get four weeks to look at draft two before it’s presented to a final working group in Seville.

We got Chapter five, the most crucial, on time and then one week before the meeting we received almost the full document, with supporting papers, equating to more than 1,000 pages. Not a pleasant experience!

Lizzie Press at the NPA, representatives from pig and poultry organisations across the UK and Alison Holdsworth from the EA have been frantically liaising on a regular basis, so we’re agreed on the key points we need to get across in Seville.

And I must add many thanks to those who’ve helped in this review process, including Mick Hazzledine who made sense of the feed section.

By the time you read this, Alison, Anna Simpson of the NFU and myself will have met our Irish colleagues for a week of challenges in Seville. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, seasons greetings to all from the BPEX environment team.

Nigel Penlington joined BPEX in 2004 and is the organisation’s environment programme manager. He specialises in environmental issues affecting the UK pig industry and production technology

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