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Pollution Prevention and Control Charges

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what consideration has been given to waiving integrated pollution prevention and control charges for any period of time; and if he will make a statement; (102537)

(2) what conditions must be met before an integrated pollution prevention and control permit will be granted; what estimate his Department has made of the costs incurred by farmers to achieve the required standard; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what the cost of (a) permits and (b) annual fees (i) will be to the integrated pollution prevention and control regime and (ii) was for the integrated pollution control regime under Part I of the 1990 Environment Protection Act; and if he will make a statement.

The integrated pollution prevention control (IPPC) directive applies an integrated environmental approach to the regulation of industrial activities. This means that emissions to air, water (including discharges to sewer) and land, plus a range of other environmental effects, including noise and vibration, must be considered together before a permit is granted. IPPC aims to prevent emissions and waste production and where that is not practicable, reduce them to acceptable levels.

The regulator must set permit conditions so as to achieve a high level of protection for the environment and human health as a whole. These conditions are based on the use of the “Best Available Techniques” , which balances the costs to the operator against the benefits to the environment and human health.

Regulatory costs have to be met by those whose activities cause the need for them and so cannot be waived. Intensive livestock installations will be charged £3,331 for a permit application and then annual charges of £2,229 for a small installation and £2,794 for a large one. The IPPC directive applies only to poultry installations with places for more than 40,000 birds and to installations with places for more than 2,000 production pigs or 750 sows. Large units are those greater than 10 times the lower threshold, that is those greater than 400,000 birds, 20,000 production pigs or 7,500 sows.

On 19 May, the industry accepted an offer from the Environment Agency whereby, provided permit applications are received evenly through the 1 November 2006 to 31 January 2007 application period, a subsistence charge of £1,471 for an existing small installation and £1,844 for an existing large one will be charged to industry from August 2007 until March 2008. This represents a substantial saving to industry.

Intensive livestock installations are not, and have never been, subject to the integrated pollution control regime under Part I of the 1990 Environment Protection Act. The total capital costs of meeting, in England, the requirements of the IPPC directive—including permitting and improvements likely to be necessary over the next few years—were estimated by the Rural Development Service in February 2006 to be £64.6 million with annual costs of £20.2 million, although there are significant uncertainties about these estimates.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how the amount of the fee for an integrated pollution prevention and control permit application was determined by the Environment Agency; and if he will make a statement. (102540)

Integrated pollution prevention and control permit application charges and annual fees are based on the Environment Agency's Environmental Protection Operator and Pollution Risk Appraisal scheme. This scheme has been designed to reflect the actual environmental risk posed by the nature, performance, location and management of each installation. In calculating the operator's charges, the scheme takes into account the installation's complexity, emissions performance, inherent potential to pollute, location, and the standards of management, control and compliance achieved by the operator.

Further information is available on the Environment Agency website at:

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/444304/1224648/1224695/.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress he has made in his discussions with the National Farmers' Union and the Environment Agency to limit the financial impacts on farmers of introducing integrated pollution prevention and control; and if he will make a statement. (102546)

My noble Friend the Lord Rooker recently met both representatives of the industry and Peter Kendall from the National Farmers' Union to discuss this matter. We have assured them that we are reviewing what further might be able to be done to streamline and reduce the costs of these regulatory requirements.