Indoor pig producers have just a few weeks left to apply for Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) licences before the Environment Agency’s deadline on January 31.

But the National Pig Association is urging producers to get their applications in by 15 January to avoid mistakes or log-jamming the system.

The Environment Agency has warned it may take up to four months to process licences. Industry consultants are advising farmers to spend up to 50 hours completing their applications.

The NPA expects about 1200 producers to apply for the £3331 licence. The legislation applies to all indoor pig units with 750 sows or 2000 finishers over 30kg.

Qualifying units will be subject to an inspection at the time the permit is issued and thereafter to inspections at least annually. Producers who fail to submit their applications in time could face legal action.

However, it is feared Brussels may reduce the size of units covered by IPPC regulations during a review of the legislation this summer. If the limit was reduced to 500 sows, this could force a quarter of indoor units to downsize or apply for a permit in the future.