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EU reaches deal to reduce industrial emissions

EU countries and the European Parliament said on Wednesday (29 November) that they had reached a preliminary agreement to limit industrial emissions, including from intensive poultry and pig farms and ore mines, Euractiv reports.

The EU Council representing member states said in a statement that the deal struck late Tuesday would “reduce harmful industrial emissions and improve public access to information.”

According to Teresa Ribera, Spain’s minister for environmental transformation, who represented member states in the negotiations on behalf of Spain’s EU Council presidency, the goal is to reduce pollution to levels that no longer negatively affect human health by 2050. She noted:

The new rules will set pollution limits at more effective levels and provide clear guidance to industry on the right investments to reduce their emissions effectively.

The agreement, which is yet to be formally adopted, aims to reduce air, soil and water pollution by businesses by revising existing emission and landfill regulations. The European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register, known as E-PRTR, will also be updated. In its statement, Parliament said emissions from large agricultural companies could lead to serious illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and cancer.

From 2030, the updated rules will apply to poultry farms with more than 300 laying hen units – or more than 21,400 chickens. The new rules will also be used in relation to intensive pig farms with more than 350 stock units – a reference unit of more than 1,000 pigs, depending on the age and size of the pigs.

The revised rules will also govern the industrial mining of ores such as iron, copper, gold, nickel and platinum, and the European Commission may include the mining of industrial minerals at a later stage.

However, a “reciprocity clause” would guarantee that imported agricultural products would meet requirements comparable to those that European farmers must meet. The lead EU lawmaker on the file Radan Kanev said:

We kept cattle out of the scope of the Industry Emissions Directive. The European Commission must now make a new impact assessment and communicate fairly and transparently with farmers before coming back to Parliament with a new legislative proposal on cattle inclusion.

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