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Industry Leader Backs Green Squeezed Farmers

13 September 2012, at 8:07am

UK - A leading figure from food and farming will call for pig farmers to be freed from a precautionary rather than evidence-based approach to environmental controls that’s inhibiting investment in new building for livestock.

In his speech at the Annual JSR Farming Conference, at York University, pig and arable farmer and Chair of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), John Godfrey, will highlight the difficulties faced by pig farmers who want to expand a site or build on a new site but run into objections from the regulating authorities.

The levy board Chair will tell the Conference that even after planning permission has been granted for new livestock housing development, the Environment Agency and Natural England are obstructing progress by adopting a precautionary stance. He’ll report how PPC (Pollution Prevention and Control) permits are being denied on the potential grounds of odour affecting local residents and possible impact of ammonia gas emissions.

Mr Godfrey will say: “Pig farmers are trying to do the right thing, both for their businesses and the environment, by investing in new buildings for their pigs.

“While refurbishing existing buildings is fairly straightforward, the better long-term solution will often be to put up new facilities, which delivers a far better environmental footprint – including a significant reduction in odour and ammonia emissions – than old buildings.

“How can the industry help deliver the Government’s food security agenda and climate change targets if we’re blocked from doing so?“

Mr Godfrey will go on to highlight a current AHDB project to assess all the evidence on odour and ammonia emissions to attempt to bring some scientific rigour to the process and ensure correct application.

The AHDB Chair will also pick out the likely shortfall in supply to result from the January 2013 implementation of a stalls ban in Europe, plus the increased potential from new export markets - especially for fifth quarter products - as two key opportunities for the UK pig industry.