Intensive poultry installation case study: Summary and recommendations

October 2003


Purpose of the project

In order to enable an effective permitting process for intensive livestock installations subject to integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC), sector specific application procedures have been developed by the environment agencies in consultation with industry. A simplified process is permissible where applicants must comply with ‘Standard Farming Installation Rules’ (SFIR’s) to demonstrate that they are adopting ‘Best Available Techniques’ (BAT) in their operational and management practices. A sector-specific application form and guidance notes have been prepared to be used in conjunction with SFIR’s. The aim of the simplified procedure is to provide an easier permitting process that results in a high quality cost effective application and a reduced level of regulatory burden, without any reduction in the level of environmental protection achieved. The purpose of SNIFFER project UKPIR02 was to investigate the appropriateness of the simplified IPPC application procedures for intensive poultry installations.

The project aims were:

Case study farms

The case studies were undertaken on two farms producing broiler chickens, one located in the Scottish Borders and the other in South Armagh, Northern Ireland. The farms were deemed to be typical in terms of size and production characteristics of the areas they were located in. The Northern Ireland farm consisted of three sheds housing up to 76,500 birds. The buildings were of wooden construction and incorporated roof mounted ventilation fans. The Scottish farm consisted of eight sheds housing up to 185,500 birds, and the buildings incorporated side mounted fans and a tunnel ventilation system.

Benefits of industry sector specific procedures

Simplified sector specific procedures provided significant advantages to industry and regulators in that industry specific information is provided on what is required. Evidence from the case studies demonstrated that this resulted in a higher quality of application and good compliance with the standard farming rules. An additional advantage is the lower cost sector specific procedures attract. Notwithstanding this, case study applicants found completing an IPPC application a complex task. Feedback during the preparation of IPPC applications emphasised the need for additional guidance, particularly about the level of detail required in the many supplementary reports required in the application.

Example applications

Preparing example applications to guide industry was an important outcome of the project. Two example documents were prepared, a Scottish version and a Northern Ireland version. The example applications provide model answers at a level of detail that can reasonable be expected from farming businesses, based on the experience gained in the case studies. It is expected that the example applications should significantly reduce the burden and cost for applicants, and result in a higher proportion of duly made applications for regulators. Whilst the example applications should be adequate for a majority of farms, it is likely that farms on difficult sites, e.g. close to sensitive habitats, will require more detailed investigation. Training in the use of example applications as part of general training on how to prepare IPPC farming applications would further assist the process.

Areas of significant difficulty

Two main aspects of the application process were identified by the case studies as areas where applicants were likely to experience difficulties in providing the necessary information. These were preparation of site reports and assessing environmental impacts from installations. Both can be specialist tasks requiring input from a number of scientific disciplines. To assist, a basic methodology for each of these aspects has been provided in the example application documents, and the project was extended to provide additional guidance and development of the methodologies used. The initial emphasis in these supplementary guidance documents is to assist the large number of early applicants preparing IPPC applications in Northern Ireland.

Areas of minor difficulty

A recurring theme from the case study applicants was uncertainty about the amount of detail required in the application process. It is expected that much of this uncertainty can be resolved if applicants use the example applications produced as part of the project.

Other issues arising

The case studies highlighted a number of issues concerning practical details of the application form and standard farming rules. Recommendations have been made for consideration when the rules and application documents are next reviewed.

Conclusions and recommendations

The project concluded that the sector specific application process was appropriate for the intensive livestock industry, and provided advantages for regulators and industry. In most cases it should be feasible for farmers to prepare most of their own documentation using the example applications produced during the case study project. Further emphasis is needed on the importance of standard farming rules and the need to demonstrate compliance. The use of standard emission factors provided in the application form is a workable approach but one that involves a degree of compromise. Additional guidance has been produced for the preparation of site reports and the assessment of environmental impacts. The findings of the project have been disseminated to industry at seminars held in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Copies of this report are available from the Foundation, price 25.00, less 20% to FWR members.

N.B. The report is available for download from the SNIFFER Website