Broiler growers can now take advantage of a new “emissions envelope” for ammonia that will cut red tape and reduce paperwork in obtaining Environmental Permitting Regulations (formerly IPPC) permits.


Working with the Environment Agency, the NFU and the British Poultry Council (BPC) have agreed a new, streamlined application process for pollution permits for broiler farms. It will enable producers to increase their flock sizes with permits taking a matter of weeks rather than months to approve, says the NFU.

The move follows research, commissioned by the NFU and the BPC, which shows that broilers emit about 32% less ammonia than previously thought.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: “The NFU and BPC have demonstrated that emissions from the industry were less than previously thought, so this is a very pragmatic solution by the Environment Agency in response to the particular needs of the broiler sector.

“The new application process will allow a quick and easy route for producers and processors to respond to changes in the market, essential for saving them valuable time and effort.”

The “emission envelope” is an approach widely used in other industries, and sets operators an upper limit on substances they can emit without harming the environment, but gives them scope to expand or contract their business without having to apply for major permit variations all the time.

BPC chairman Ted Wright said: “Cutting the red tape means broiler processors and producers will have more flexibility within the emission envelope to adjust to the needs of markets while continuing to protect the environment. “The new application process is a good example of the benefits of committed partnership working, which we are looking to repeat with the Environment Agency in other areas of regulation.”

Martin Bigg, the Environment Agency’s head of business for Industry Regulation said: “Over the past few months we have been working very hard to improve our permitting service for this sector.

“This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when industry and regulators work together with the common aim of improving regulation so it can help businesses.”

The research was undertaken by ADAS, and jointly commissioned and funded by the NFU and BPC, to review the scientific evidence for the poultry ammonia emission factors contained in the UK Inventory of Ammonia Emissions from Agriculture.

An application fee of £370 will still be payable when using the streamlined process.


Producers can use the emission envelope approach when:

• There has been no odour/noise/dust or fly issues from the farm within the past three years.

• The permit does not have, or has not previously had, an ammonia emission reduction improvement condition.

• The increase in bird numbers is less than 40,000 places in existing sheds

• The proposal does not involve a change in emission characteristics i.e. extensions to existing sheds, additional sheds, or changes to ventilation.

• The application does not claim to be commercially confidential or contain information affecting national security.