NPA writes to Defra calling for delay in new emissions standards

The National Pig Association (NPA) is writing to Defra Minster Therese Coffey this week calling on her to delay the introduction of new emissions levels, which could unfairly penalise some pig farmers.

The Environment Agency (EA) will review all existing environmental permits over the next four years, following the introduction of new requirements for permit holders.

The main change is the introduction of Best Available Technique Associated Emission Levels (BAT AELs). The AELs for ammonia emissions and nitrogen and phosphorus excretion will apply to all permits.

The EA will be sending questionnaires to all permitted farms this autumn to determine whether existing permits comply with the new standards and to identify what, if any, improvements are required. Farms with a permit, or those applying for one, will need to comply with the requirements as soon as the new/updated permit is issued, the EA has said.

But the NPA has told Defra that that the standard emissions factors currently used are based on decades old research. Due to advances in genetics, housing, management and nutrition, actual ammonia emissions are far lower than the emissions factors would suggest.

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “Many members could be significantly financially affected should the current AELs be pushed through. That is why the NPA, at the request of the producer group at its latest meeting in London, is calling on Defra to delay the introduction of the new emission levels until the standard emissions factors have been updated. We want to ensure that costly and unnecessary charges are not levied onto members.”


AHDB Pork is holding a series of workshops around the country with the EA to help producers understand how the review process will be carried out and what the implications of the changes for their businesses will be. The workshops will be held on:

  • 5 October, Kidderminster
  • 16 October, Wetherby
  • 17 October, Diss
  • 25 October, Driffield
  • 7 November, Taunton
  • 8 November, Bristol/Bath

More details, including timings and venues are available on AHDB Pork’s website

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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.