8 March 1996

Clean-up plans will cost us, say pigmen

By Tony McDougal

ANGRY pig producers claim the proposed integrated pollution prevention control directive – covering ammonia, nitrates and phosphates – will leave them heavily out of pocket.

They say the EUs draft IPPC directive, which has been extended to cover intensive livestock units with more than 2000 places for pigs over 30kg or 750 breeding sows, will simply mirror the controls imposed by the EU nitrates directive.

If the IPPC directive is applied as proposed, up to 820 breeding pig units in the UK, producing 38% of pigmeat production, will be liable to pay an application fee of £3800. This comes on top of an annual enforcement charge of £1730, currently levied on the 3000 industrial units affected.

New units will also have to comply with IPPC legislation almost immediately rather than undergo a long transition period.

Veronica Pitts, NFU policy adviser, argued that the impact on the UK would be greater than other EU member states. "On average the UK has one of the largest pig herds in Europe but one of the lowest densities. It, therefore, places relatively low pressure on the environment but will be hardest hit by the legislation – 13% of holdings are likely to be affected in Yorkshire/Humberside and 18% in East Anglia.

"Many UK producers breed and finish their pigs on the same holding, which means many more will come within the directive compared to Continental systems, where often breeding and finishing is done on separate holdings."

Pig farmers recently met the Euro-MP responsible for co-ordinating amendments to the directive, David Bowe (Lab, Cleveland and Yorkshire North). He said the issue was further complicated by the EUs environmental impact assessment scheme.

The latest EIA threshold of 900 sows and 3000 finishing pigs are higher than for the IPPC directive, and Mr Bowe stressed he would be meeting colleagues to fight for a common threshold. &#42

Fungicide goes on to a field of Hereward winter wheat after last years rape crop at Velcourt Ltds Vine Farm, Wendy, Cambs.