Environment Agency extends charges consultation

The Environment Agency has extended its consultation on controversial new charging proposals by two weeks to January 26.

The agency’s Strategic Review of Charges proposes that permit variation fees will increase from £380 to between approximately £2,400 and £7,000, depending upon the degree of variation. In addition new application fees could rise from £3,750 to around £8,000.

The agency said the proposals were for a ‘simpler and more consistent charging arrangement’ and that the new charges would reflect the amount of regulatory effort needed at a site.

But the NPA, which has joined forces with the NFU, NPA, British Poultry Council (BPC) and British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) to oppose the increases, said the proposed charge hikes are ‘unjustified and unfair’.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies challenged the EA’s justification for the increases, which appear to be driven by its internal processes. “We are extremely concerned at the proposed charge increases, which we believe are unjustified, unfair and will cause unnecessary damage to pig farmers who have done nothing to deserve this,” she said.

The consultation was launched at the start of December and spans the festive period. But this week the EA said: “In response to customer feedback the decision has been taken to extend the Strategic Review of Charges consultation by two weeks to Friday January 26.”

To see the consultation web page, which includes all the background information, and to give your views, click here

There is an Intensive Pig and Poultry Sector specific presentation outlining the charge proposals, with an audio narrative, available on the consultation hub.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.