The environmental permitting system would regulate family farms “out of existence” – ICMSA


An environmental permitting scheme proposed by the EU for farms of 150 livestock units or more will move Ireland’s family farming system “decisively toward destruction,” warned ICMSA President Pat McCormack.

Referring to the proposal being advanced under the Industrial Emissions Directive, Mr McCormack said the idea shows what he described as the extent of the disconnect between bureaucratic abstraction and ‘on the ground’ reality.

“It was almost impossible to imagine a proposal that had less basis in reality than one aimed at attacking family farms that produce food sustainably at a time of increasingly worrying inflation, on the basis of an industrial emissions directive.

“Here we are again with the one constant factor in the problems affecting Irish agriculture and agri-food: the idea that the answer to the underlying problems is simply to burden farmers with ever more irrational and costly regulations while everyone else in supply – The chain can only do its own thing.

“It is very easy for those outside the industry – and who will not be personally affected by their proposals – to put forward regulation after regulation without regard to the unnecessary pressures placed on farming families in terms of workload, farm management and farm income.

“This is the latest, and possibly most counterproductive, in a long, long line of harmful and disruptive ideas that don’t solve anything and make things worse,” Mr McCormack said.

The proposal is part of a major overhaul of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) under which intensive pig and poultry farms are already operating. It is being extended to the broader livestock sector for the first time.

Asked how such a development could affect Ireland’s intensive dairy and cattle farming industry, an EPA spokesman said: “As part of the European Green Deal, the European Commission committed to reviewing the IED to meet the zero pollution targets , carbon neutrality, biodiversity and a cleaner, more circular economy.

“An assessment of the IED was completed in 2020 and a consultation process was completed in July 2021. One of the outcomes of the consultation process was that it was proposed to include intensive cattle farming within the scope of the IED.


“The Commission is expected to adopt a proposal on April 5 to start the process of revising the IED.

“The process of revising a directive involves further consultation and scrutiny by member states.

“Once the revised Directive is published it will include deadlines by which it must be implemented in Ireland and EPA will regulate and monitor any new sector as appropriate.” The environmental permitting system would regulate family farms “out of existence” – ICMSA

Fry Electronics Team

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