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Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control

Volume 455: debated on Thursday 25 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what estimate he has made of the costs to farmers in England of implementing the integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) measures; what representations he has received on the costs; and if he will review the appropriateness of the current thresholds for the application of the IPPC measures to (a) pig and (b) poultry farmers; (117225)

(2) whether a regulatory impact assessment has been carried out on the application of the integrated pollution prevention and control regulations to (a) pig and (b) poultry farmers.

The integrated pollution prevention and control (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. Since they are set in the directive, those thresholds cannot be changed unilaterally by the UK. 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.

Under the Environment Agency’s (EA) scheme of charges, 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 EA is obliged to consult annually on the scheme of charges, before seeking the Secretary of State’s approval.

In England, the total capital costs of meeting the requirements of the IPPC directive were estimated by the Rural Development Service, in February 2006, to be £64.6 million with annual costs of £20.2 million. This includes permitting and improvements likely to be necessary over the next few years. However, there are significant uncertainties about these estimates.

A regulatory impact assessment was carried out on the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 prior to their making. However, this did not consider in detail each individual industry sector in terms of the transposition of the IPPC directive.

My noble Friend Lord Rooker recently met representatives of the industry to discuss permit charges and in particular how annual charges might be reduced through streamlined approaches to inspection. The EA and the National Farmers Union are currently considering options including what greater use might be made of assurance scheme visits.