Environmental Permits – do you need one?

Published January 2nd, 2018

Farmers are being reminded that they must apply for an environmental permit if they are conducting intensive farming operations and certain other activities, including some renewable energy projects.

“Whilst we are mainly involved in applying for environmental permits for pig and poultry units  we are also becoming increasingly involved in permit applications for other circumstances such as those looking to burn waste wood through biomass boilers,” said Vicky Price, a surveyor with Berrys, based at Hereford.

Environmental permit applications are required for intensive farming when;

Rearing of poultry or pigs intensively in an installation with more than:

(i) 40,000 places for poultry;

(ii) 2,000 places for production pigs (over 30kg) and/or

(iii) 750 places for sows.

Poultry includes chickens, layers, pullets, turkeys, ducks, guinea fowl and quail. Pigs reared outdoors are excluded, but housed free-range poultry (egg-laying and chickens reared for meat) are included.

Intensive farming requires a bespoke permit application, which covers a wide range of reports and assessments including amenity, health and safety including a detailed accident management plan along with dust assessments and odour and noise management plans

“At Berrys we write and provide these bespoke documents for clients to accompany the application as well as producing the necessary documents as part of any permit variations,” Vicky explained.

“As the Environment Agency appears to be requiring more and more information as part of the application process, it is important to get all the information and check what reports will be required from the outset to limit the delay in having the permit application processed.

“Detailed site plans and drainage plans will be required as part of the process, with the site plan requiring the location of all emission points such as ventilation fans, biomass boilers, and backup systems.

“If you have a permit already in place and you plan to extend the unit or materially change the site such as adding a new building you will need to submit a permit variation application to the EA.

You may need a permit for a biomass boiler

“If you have a biomass boiler on your poultry site this will need to be included in the environmental permit. If you are installing a biomass boiler to an existing site you will need to apply for a permit variation.

“You will also need an environmental permit is you are importing waste woods to use in these boilers, whether or not the boiler is on the site of an intensive farming operation.

At the moment applications for new sites and variations are taking a while to be processed by the EA and allocated to their officers, so it is therefore important that anyone thinking of applying should do so at the earliest opportunity to allow sufficient time to get the permit in place.

“For example, environmental permit applications usually run alongside planning applications, however, the initial screening request that the EA requires to be undertaken could be submitted at the early stages when thinking about planning to ascertain whether the proposed site is acceptable from an ammonia point of view,” she said.

When the EA assesses the application for a permit it will set conditions in the permit to ensure the emissions and discharges are at a level that will not result in significant impact on people and the environment reflecting current statutory requirements. If the applicant doesn’t demonstrate that they will be able to comply with these conditions, the permit will be refused.

For more information please contact Vicky Price at the Hereford Office of Berrys on 01544 598084 or email




For more information...

Visit our relevant website page: Agricultural & Poultry

More about Vicky Price

Chartered Surveyor
Tel: 01432 809834
Mobile: 07789 986904

Vicky joined Berrys’ Hereford office when she returned home after  practising in the Eastern Region for four years, during which time she qualified as an Associate of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.

Vicky assists in all matters of rural agency and professional advice including estate management, valuations, landlord and tenant matters, letting and selling of land and rural property, Single Payment Scheme, environmental schemes and agricultural planning appraisals.

A local girl, Vicky is a farmer’s daughter from near Knighton. She has been a member of Clun Valley Young Farmers Club for many years and has a keen interest in the countryside and rural affairs as well as helping out on the family farm.