Environmental permits under review

Changes that could affect farmers with an IPPC permit (EPR) are currently under discussion as part of a European Commission process that’s reviewing what constitutes Best Available Techniques (BAT).

The second draft of the reference document for the Intensive Rearing of Pigs and Poultry has just been released to member states for consultation, and pig producers have until early October to comment.

UK technical representatives from the Environment Agency, BPEX and the NPA are preparing to submit evidence to help establish which pig and poultry farming techniques should be considered as BAT.

“It’s important that the techniques described in the 850-page document are physically and economically viable in the UK,” BPEX environment programme manager Nigel Penlington said. “They mustn’t just be of scientific interest or preclude our specialist and higher-welfare systems.

“BAT applies not only to the housing systems, but also farm management, feed formulation and slurry storage. So, for example, as they currently stand, the proposals would mean slurry stores on permitted farms would have to be covered by 2018 rather than 2020 as many hope.”

The new reference document is scheduled for publication early in 2014, when the ratification process has been completed. Once adopted, all permitted farms have four years in which to be fully compliant – that is, operating to BAT across their whole operation – and the EA will start a permit review process in 2014.

Mr Penlington, along with the EA’s Alison Holdsworth and Lizzie Press from the NPA, are working with appropriate experts, Defra and industry stakeholders on compiling the UK submission.

The second draft of the reference document can be found at: http://goo.gl/2PxFln

Pig producers who would like to make comments on the document should send them to Nigel Penlington ([email protected]) or Lizzie Press ([email protected]) by October 7, 2013.

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