ARCHIVE: Eggs and poultry: Environmental protection and pollution control legislation

Environmental Protection Act 1990

The Act, amongst other things, makes provision for the improved control of pollution arising from certain industrial and other processes, regulates the collection and disposal of waste and defines statutory nuisances.

In relation to poultry production, the parts of the Act dealing with statutory nuisances are relevant. A statutory nuisance is defined as including any dust, steam, smell or effluvia arising on industrial, trade or business premises and being prejudicial to health or a nuisance. The Local Authority has powers to investigate complaints of statutory nuisances and issue an Abatement Notice if a statutory nuisance exists.

Implementing Authority and Source of Further Information: Local Authority Environmental Health Department.

Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999


Pollution Prevention and Control (England) Regulations 1999

The Regulations will implement into UK Law the requirements of the EU Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Directive. This aims to provide protection for the environment by integrating the control of emissions into air, water and soil. The Regulations apply to new large poultry units and existing facilities which meet the criteria will come under the Regulations no later than 2007. A proportion of existing units however came under the Regulations in 2004.

The Regulations will apply to poultry units with 40,000 or more bird places. Units will require a permit to operate and to show that they are operating to certain standards.

A series of model application templates has been prepared to help poultry farmers to apply for a permit to operate under the IPPC Regulations. See the British Poultry Council website.

A series of factsheets communicating Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) information to farmers has been published, see:

The Water Resources Act 1991

The Water Resources Act aims to prevent water pollution from happening and allows people to be prosecuted if they pollute under the Act.

It is an offence to cause or knowingly permit a discharge of poisonous, noxious or polluting matter or solid waste matter into controlled waters (including ground water, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and ditches) without proper authority (usually in the form of a consent from the Environment Agency).

The Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) Regulations 1991 as amended

The Control of Pollution Regulations aim to prevent pollution by silage, slurry and fuel oil by setting standards for keeping and handling these substances. Dirty water and foul run-off is described as slurry in the Regulations. Facilities which were in existence before 1 September 1991 are usually exempt from the rules but the Environment Agency can require them to be improved if there is a significant risk of pollution. New, substantially enlarged, or substantially reconstructed facilities must meet the standards set out in the Regulations. The Environment Agency must be informed at least 14 days before and of the exact site on which new facilities are to be used.

Implementing Authority: Environment Agency.

Source of further information: Environment Agency and independent consultancy organisations such as ADAS.

The Protection of Water against Agricultural Nitrate Pollution (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 and the Action Programme for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (England and Wales) Regulations 1998

The Nitrate Directive aims to reduce nitrate pollution from agricultural sources, which could include certain poultry operations. Nitrate Vulnerable Zones are defined as those where the nitrate concentration in water exceeded, or was expected to exceed, the precautionary limit of 50mg/litre. Farmers in the 68 NVZ’s have had to reduce nitrate leaching from their land. For poultry enterprises, methods of achieving this have included controlling the timings and rates of manure applications and the storage of slurry.

Codes of Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Air, Water, and Soil 1998

These updated Codes of Practice, whilst not statutory, provide practical guides to help prevent farmers and growers from causing pollution to air and water and damage to soils.

Copies of the Codes are available.

Implementing Authority: Environment Agency.

The Animal By-Products Order 1999 and The Dogs Act 1906 as amended

Carcasses or parts of carcasses which are not intended for human consumption must generally be disposed of by rendering, incineration or, in certain circumstances, by burning or burial. Certain types of material may be sent to a knackers yard, hunt kennel or to other premises registered under the Animal By-Products Order.

Under the Dogs Act 1906 it is an offence to permit the carcass of any livestock to remain unburied in a field or other place to which dogs can gain access.

Implementing Authority and Source of Further Information: Local Authority.

Highways Act 1980

Included in this Act are sections relating to the deposition of "anything" on a highway where there is interruption, injury or danger to the user or a nuisance. This has been interpreted as including the dropping of slurry or solid manure onto public highways from farm machinery and contractor's vehicles.

Implementing Authority and Source of Further Information: Local Authority.

Implementing Authority and Source of Further information: Defra Animal Health and Welfare

Page last modified: 21 July 2009
Page published: 21 July 2009