Pig producers on large intensive units have only six weeks to apply for Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) permits.

These licences will be required for all intensive units with more than 750 sow places or 2,000 places for finishing pigs over 30kg. Large scale units without an IPPC permit after January 2007 could face prosecution.

IPPC applications must be submitted between now and mid January to the Environment Agency. 

The application will include an Application Site Report (ASR) which must include details of the following

• Livestock rearing areas
• Hard-standing areas and vehicle access
• Sediment traps, settlement ponds and soakaways
• Feed, manure, slurry, fuel storage handling and transfer areas
• Dirty water tanks and associated drainage areas
• Carcass storage and incineration
• Waste storage areas

Areas of land which are required for manure/slurry spreading must also be identified as part of a Manure Management Plan.

Manure/slurry spreading rates will also be subject to NVZ calculations with a field limit of 250kg of total nitrogen, per hectare, per annum.

An Environment Agency helpline – 08708 506506 has been set up to deal IPPC queries.

The number of units which will be affected by IPPC rules remains uncertain but there are concerns that some producers have left their applications for permits until the last minute.

The National Pig Association commented that British producers would pay higher rates than some of their EU counterparts, with Dutch pig farmers paying a charge of £250 compared with a £3,331 fee for British farmers.