Environmental regulations: more current figures affect many more EU farmers

The European agricultural umbrella organizations COPA-Cogeca have asked the European Commission for new new calculations for the proposal to bring large livestock farms under the industrial criteria for air pollution.

Last week it was leaked that Brussels has based the new IED directive on outdated and outdated figures, and that many more pig and poultry farms will soon be covered.

The environment department of the European Commission reported on January 30, during a meeting in Brussels of a working group of Agriculture ministers, that the data from 2016 is no longer used, but more current figures from 2020.

The European Commission has so far said that on average “only 13% of farms” will be covered by the new rules. By using the most recent data, this increases for poultry from 15% to 58% and for pig farms from 18% to 61%. There are hardly any differences in dairy and other livestock farming.

The EU researchers say the figures come from the annual surveys that the EU conducts in the agricultural sectors. This survey, which provides information on the size and number of farms, was also used to calculate the proposed IED threshold of 150 livestock units (LSU). 

A possible cause of the differences may be that there were many mergers and acquisitions in the pig and poultry industry precisely between 2016 and 2020. Double counting has also been removed from the results.

The new calculations will undoubtedly lead to new objections and protests in the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament. Since the IED is a directive, a transitional period of two years is allowed before it comes into force. In practice, this means that even if a deal is struck on the IED in 2023, the directive will not be implemented until 2025.

Copa and Cogeca say they hope that EU policymakers will take this new data seriously and reassess the Commission's proposal.