The potential introduction of an environmental licensing scheme for intensive dairy and cattle farming is drawing near as the EU tightens its rules on industrial pollution.
The proposal is understood to be one of a series of recommendations to be adopted next week by the European Commission as part of a comprehensive review of the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) – the bloc’s main instrument for regulating pollutant emissions at the industrial level.
Although intensive pig and poultry farms are already operating under such an Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) permitting regime – with permits regulated and overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the EU now wants to extend the scope of the IED to broader livestock production units.
Asked whether intensive beef and dairy farms would be included within the remit of the IED under the review, a Commission spokesman said: “Based on the inception impact assessment and public consultation reports, there is a need to extend the scope of the rules very large considering.”
When asked how such a development could affect intensive dairy and cattle farming in Ireland, 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 set deadlines by which it must be implemented in Ireland and EPA will regulate and monitor any new sector as necessary.”
While details on the definition of “intensive” animal husbandry were not available, The Commission carried out “an in-depth study” analyzing the cost-benefit ratio of including bovine animals in the IED at different livestock unit thresholds.
Officials said this assessment found that from largely stocked farms to lower thresholds of around 150 to 200 head of cattle, the costs would be “clearly outweighed” by the benefits of reducing emissions.
At one of the final consultation meetings, Joanna Drake, Deputy Director General of DG Environment said: “The IED has already done a lot to reduce pollutant emissions from the EU’s agro-industrial sectors.
“It also protects soils and ensures that when industrial companies close down plants, they clean up the soil contamination caused by their activities.
“However, we can continue to make progress toward our zero emissions goal. Reductions in pollutant emissions to water have been slower than to air and this can be accelerated.
“In addition, the scope of the IED does not cover some large sectors responsible for significant emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases, such as B. intensive animal husbandry.
“This is an area where we could build synergies between the IED and the recently agreed new CAP.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/environment/eu-drafts-tougher-pollution-rules-for-intensive-dairy-and-beef-farms-41511576.html The EU is drafting tougher pollution rules for intensive dairy and beef farms