Polish Government drafts meat odour bill amid industry protests

By Jaroslaw Adamowski

- Last updated on GMT

Polish Government drafts odour bill amid meat industry protests
The Polish Ministry of the Environment has drafted a new bill to restrict investments in building new animal breeding facilities in close proximity to residential buildings.

The so-called ‘Odour Bill’ is yet to be approved by the Council of Ministers whose positive decision is prerequisite to submitting the legislation to the country’s parliament.

In an accompanying document, which stated the reasons behind the drafting of the new legislation, the ministry said that an opinion poll carried out in 2015 showed that about 50% of the surveyed Poles identified odours as a major nuisance in Poland, and 42% of those polled associated livestock farming with one of the major sources of nuisances in their area of residence.

Under the draft bill, if a facility’s production exceeds 210 livestock units (LSUs), it will need to be located at a sufficient distance from residential buildings. Within the range of 210 to 500 LSUs, such facilities will need to be located at an according distance of between 210 and 500 metres from local residences. Large-scale facilities fitted with more than 500 LSUs will be required to maintain a distance of at least 500 metres from residential buildings, as stated by the legislation. 

“Taking into account the number of requests for intervention​ [submitted to public authorities and] related to odour-related nuisances that are predominantly caused by facilities for animal breeding, it is necessary to determine a minimum distance from planned agricultural  undertakings” ​and residential buildings, the Environment Ministry said in its regulatory impact analysis (RIA) document.

Meanwhile, the draft legislation has been criticised by a number of representatives of the country’s meat industry. These included the Polish Chamber of Poultry Meat and Feed Producers (KIPDiP) whose president, Piotr Lisiecki, took part in a recent conference held at the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament, to oppose the measures introduced by the bill. 

“The Polish Government’s new legislative initiative​ generates significant dangers for Polish agriculture. With a sole distance criterion for the entire country ​[foreseen by the legislation], this is an effort to deal with the issue of odour-related nuisances by directing all charges and restrictions solely at the animal products sector, bypassing other sectors,”​ the KIPDiP said in a statement.

Speaking at the conference, Lisiecki said the new law could cause legal uncertainty among the representatives of the animal breeding industry, as many farm owners are currently considering expanding their activities or changing their sector.  

An analysis by the Institute of Agricultural Economy (IGR), a Warsaw-based think-tank, stated that “the introduction of excessively restrictive regulations could have a negative impact on the production and exports of domestic agricultural and food products”​ by Poland, which generated more than €30 billion in 2018. 

If it is passed by the country’s parliament, the legislation is to enter into force on 1 July 2019, according to the draft bill.

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