By FWi staff

PIG producers with incinerators could face the biggest BSE tax yet, if EU legislation designed to curb emissions is implemented.

The NFU estimates 1000 units could be affected with cost of compliance running to 300,000/incinerator.

According to the National Pig Associations website, the new regulations are designed to curb the spread of dioxins, emitted from on-farm incinerators used to dispose of casualty stock.

To comply, incinerators must be fitted with an after-burner to ensure complete combustion at a cost of 30,000-42,000, says NFU environmental consultant Mike Payne.

As after-burners require more fuel, incinerator running costs would increase by 3000-5000/year.

Further costs, associated with using suppression equipment to remove emissions, would bring the total to 300,000/incinerator, he warns.

These costs are simply unsustainable. The UK is a special case in Europe because there is no market for meat and bone meal, meaning casualty carcasses must be incinerated.

We are lobbying for the EU to make an exception for UK low-throughput incinerators, but chances are not good at such a late stage.

It is only two to three months before legislation will be finalised.

A poor regulation impact assessment carried out by Entec, consultants to the DETR, hasnt helped the UKs case, says Mr Payne.

Entec grossly underestimated the number of incinerators used in agriculture.

As Farmers Weekly went to press, a MAFF spokesman said it had made clear to DETR the implications for UK farmers, and the issue would be discussed at the European Commission this week.