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Environment Agency Viewed as 'Out of Control'

by 5m Editor
20 May 2008, at 8:50am

UK - "The Environment Agency appears to me to be out of control," pig producer John Godfrey told farming minister Lord Rooker, reports NPA.

In his pig business the amount of form-filling generated by IPPC was now taking one person one or two days a week to complete, he said.

Lord Rooker said he wasn't going to criticise the Agency — "they already think I don't like them" — but he regretted that his eye had not been on the ball when IPPC was being introduced, because he was helping sort out problems with the Single Payment Scheme at the time.

"As a result I didn't spend any time delving into IPPC for pigs and poultry until the day when there was the lobby of Parliament and we asked the NFU to work with the Agency to find some way of embedding it into farm assurance, and initially this was not well received by the Agency."

He hadn't received details of the final outcome of the farm assurance initiative "but it hasn't been a rip roaring success in reducing costs".

He said of the Environment Agency's approach to IPPC, "They have got a job to do and no one has taken them to court about it. Officials tell me I cannot micro-manage them. Defra funds the Agency but we are not allowed to say how the money is spent, regretfully."

Poultry leader Charles Bournes warned the minister, "We might lose some of our most efficient units because they are within two kilometers of a Site of Special Scientific Interest."

John Godfrey said (today) that he was hoping to introduce a system that would treat slurry from his pig units to the point where the liquid element was so clean it could be discharged into, for instance, a water course.

"I have asked the Agency to tell me what the quality of the liquid needs to be before it can be acceptably discharged in this way, but the Agency says it cannot give me an answer.

"It says I will have to apply for a discharge consent and only then will it give me an answer. This is not a very encouraging response to a business that is trying to go the extra mile to improve its environmental credentials."

5m Editor