UFU concerns over IPPC repercussions

The Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU) has warned MPs in Northern Ireland that the widening of European pollution regulations could hit the pockets of small farmers.

MEPs Jim Allister and Jim Nicholson met with UFU officials at its headquarters in Belfast to discuss the potential repercussions of the review on the European Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive, which could mean more costs and legislation for smaller pig, turkey and chicken farms.

UFU president Graham Furey said: "In effect, this is industrial-scale legislation being forced on to small family farms in Northern Ireland and it doesn't fit. We are lobbying for the best possible outcome to keep costs and paperwork to a minimum for our members. It would also have the effect of driving up food costs, a key message to our political representatives."

At present, the Directive covers pig and poultry processors who have over 750 sows, 2,000 finishing pigs over 30kg, or 40,000 birds.

The new IPPC proposals, the UFU said, could see any birth-to-bacon pig farms with more than 118 sows, turkey farms with more than 11,500 birds and poultry laying flocks of greater than 30,000 birds, coming under the new rulings.

The IPPC is designed to prevent and control emissions to soil, air and water and to limit smell and noise concerns from installations. The next stage for voting is at the plenary in Strasbourg on 11 March.