31 March 2000
Blair delays pollution law

By FWi staff

NEW pollution regulations for intensive pig and poultry farmers are set to be postponed for a further three years, Tony Blair has pledged.

Implementation of Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) regulations will be until 2007, instead of 2003/4, said the Prime Minister.

The government has also promised to cut the farmers cost of an IPPC permit and review legislation on BSE-related food safety measures.

Furthermore, it has pledged to reduce the burden on farmers from a raft of other forthcoming environmental legislation.

It has proposed that a single charge of 85 covers the four-year authorisation period of the groundwater regulations instead of an annual charge of 107.

The Food Standards Agency will look again at the Over Thirty Months Scheme and the meat and bonemeal ban for the pig and poultry sectors.

It will also consider food safety measures in the sheep industry.

The government took the chance to remind everyone of its progress on implementing the red tape recommendations for the meat industry.

Farmers leader Ben Gill said the action plan had more to do with the governments commitment to help farmers rather than giving them money.

The president of the National Farmers Union said the 203 million in aid promised by Tony Blair would provide a “breathing space” farmers.

But what the package illustrated was the governments awareness of the problems facing the sector and a genuine willingness to help, he added.

Mr Gill particularly welcomed the governments pledge to regulate only where necessary and to avoid “gold plating” regulations from Brussels.

Grassroots farmers have not been appeased by the measures, particularly the meagre amount of money that will trickle down to them individually.

But Mr Gill, who is fighting for his own credibility among those he represents, said the package proved that Mr Blair is now listening to farmers.