Tighter EU environment rules will hit turkey farmers

The cost of household staples such as chicken could rise after MEPs voted to increase costs and red tape for poultry farmers under new revised environmental controls meant for heavy industry.

If proposals under the revised Integrated Pollution Prevention Control (IPPC) Directive go ahead, poultry thresholds will be lowered bringing in more poultry units, including some seasonal turkey producers and free-range egg units. The current threshold is 40,000 birds.

In addition, farmers currently operating under the IPPC Directive will be burdened further with additional monitoring, reporting requirements and inspections.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: “We are still questioning whether the IPPC Directive is the most effective way to control emissions from our sector. The Directive was borne out of a piece of legislation designed with industrial plants in mind and agriculture and horticulture do not lend themselves to the same mechanisms of control.

“Instead of voting to reduce the impact of the proposals, MEPs on the Environment Committee have opted to vote in favour of increasing the burden, cost and bureaucracy for agriculture and horticulture at a time when food security and food production is of increasing national importance.

“The proposals to include new lower thresholds for poultry units are particularly disappointing, but especially more so that seasonal turkey production will now be brought under new and extensive controls which will have an impact on costs. It just makes no sense that a farm producing Christmas turkeys for sale at the farm gate will be regulated in the same way as say a power station.

The NFU will be focusing its lobbying efforts on MEPs in advance of the next critical vote in plenary in March.