Has the Pig Sector Been Over Penalised for Ammonia Emissions?

On a recent FCG training meeting we touched on the future implications for British Agriculture post Brexit and the potential for even closer controls on ammonia emissions.  The data at the training meeting revealed that only 7% of the ammonia produced from UK agriculture is produced from the Pig sector, with 28% from dairy sector and 20% from the beef sector.  Currently pig units with over 2000 pigs over 30kg or 750 sows need an EPR permit.  There is a strong potential that dairy units will start to come under Environmental permitting within the medium term.

A worrying prospect when you consider the situation an existing pig unit currently faces!  The Environment Agency have written to a permitted pig farm and demanded an 80% reduction to ammonia levels due to Natural England reclassifying a local Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Given that the pig unit has been permitted for 10 years and made variations to this permit as recently as 2014 with the approval of both Natural England and Environment Agency, it brings into question whether this instruction to reduce ammonia levels is legally enforceable or if there is a pragmatic approach to be taken for existing units given the substantial investments already made. This is not an unusual situation and we are working closely with the NFU for this reason.

If you would like help investigating environmental permitting or EA mediation, please contact Harry at harryedwards@fcgagric.com or contact your local FCG office.

Posted in Beef, Business Management, Gloucester, Pigs.