Livestock farming also under stricter EU rules against air pollution

The European Parliament's Environment Committee has further weakened the proposal to bring many more livestock farms under stricter RIE emission standards. 

With this, the ENVI committee follows the compromise previously worked out by EU diplomats to bring fewer livestock farms under the emissions scheme, and to lower the criteria for poultry and pig farms less.

The Environment Committee also wants to make it possible for EU countries to replace the licensing requirement for 'small' companies with a registration requirement with less administrative hassle.

In addition, the compromise now accepted provides for an exception to be made for all extensive livestock farming; the RIE scheme will only apply to intensive livestock farms. In addition, the period for implementation will be extended, and barriers will be raised against 'more imports and leakage abroad' through the introduction of the principle of reciprocity.

Initially, Environment Commissioner Virginius Sinkevicius and Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans wanted to bring almost all livestock farms under the pollution rules that have existed since 2010 for tens of thousands of industrial business activities. Initially, the European Commission said that this would only apply to the very large livestock farms, but that estimate turned out to be based on outdated figures. 

Not only the Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament, but also LNV ministers from several EU countries also had reservations about 'the administrative fuss for all kinds of new permits'. Several EU factions and LNV ministers want to leave livestock farming completely out of it, but that plea led to resistance.

Not only other sectors such as transport or construction or shipping, but also intensive animal and livestock farming will soon have to use the best available techniques against air and soil pollution, it is argued.

The full European Parliament is now expected to adopt a final position in June or July. Then it will become clear whether there is a majority to keep the dairy cows completely out of it. After that, the trilogue negotiations with the European Commission and the EU Environment Ministers can be completed this year.