Brussels, 30/09/2022 (Agence Europe) – Members of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture were almost unanimous in their criticism of the European Commission’s proposals to update the Industrial Emissions Directive on Thursday 29 September.

01 Oct 2022

Proposal on industrial emissions causes outcry in European Parliament agriculture committee

The Commission is proposing that all cattle, pig and poultry farms with more than 150 livestock units (LU) should fall under the revised directive (see EUROPE B12926A2).

The Commission has indicated that only 4% of cattle and pig farms are currently covered. “We are focusing on large farms. The share of regulated intensive cattle, pig and poultry farms will therefore be increased to a new total of 13% of the EU’s largest livestock holdings, which for the first time includes cattle farms. These farms, 185,000 in all, account for 60% of ammonia emissions from livestock in the EU and 43% of methane emissions”, the Commission said.
The rapporteur for the opinion on this matter, Benoît Lutgen (EPP, Belgian), found it curious that the Commission considers small farms as industrial installations. He agreed with many EU agriculture ministers that the 150 LU threshold was too low (see EUROPE B13029A2). Mr Lutgen also deplored the fact that no distinction is made between intensive and extensive livestock farming. Mr Lutgen plans either to remove cattle farming from the scope of the proposal or to exclude extensive farming from the proposal.
*Paolo De Castro* (S&D, Italian) also criticised the proposed 150 LU threshold and said that it would place new administrative burdens on farmers already facing a difficult situation. The number of animals, which fluctuates on farms, also needs to be taken into account, and financial support must be provided to farmers, added Mr *De Castro*.
Benoît Biteau (Greens/EFA, French), who called for a compromise, said that the directive should target more appropriately the livestock systems that could be affected by it and exclude livestock farms that have a connection with the land and territories. More work needs to be done on the notions of “density or load level” if we want to better combat pollution.
A “crushing blow”. Jérémy Decerle (Renew Europe, French) said that this text was viewed by farmers as “a provocation”.
Daniel Buda (EPP, Romanian) expressed the view that the aim of this proposal was to “destroy the agricultural sector” and regretted the lack of EU funds for farmers. He called for a “rejection” of the proposal as it stands.
Anne Sander (EPP, French), who spoke of a “crushing blow” to the farming world, said that in France, “67% of laying hen farms and more than 30,000 cattle farms would be affected” by the proposed new text. 
This kind of proposal is the best way to “break bridges” between the farming world and environmentalists, summarised Dacian Cioloș (Renew Europe, Romanian).
“We are going to fight it”, concluded the rapporteur of the opinion, Mr Lutgen.
Only Anja Hazekamp (The Left, Dutch) welcomed the content of the Commission’s proposal.
The European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety is the body responsible for this matter. Mr Lutgen’s draft opinion could be presented to the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture next week.