POULTRY producers in Wales will face higher permitting costs if new charges currently under consultation are put in place.

One proposal is to increase the cost of varying an existing permit for a pig or poultry unit from £388 to £5,632.

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Natural Resources Wales (NRW) also wants to increase the cost of new applications from £7,322 to £9,720 and raise the annual fee for assessing and monitoring permit conditions by 6%.

NFU Cymru has condemned the price hikes. The union’s rural affairs board chairman, Hedd Pugh said: “In the context of the very significant inflationary pressures faced by farm businesses for key inputs such as energy, feed and fertiliser, many farmers will be dismayed at NRW’s proposals.

“While we understand that NRW has a duty to recover costs and is unable to cross-subsidise various charging regimes, farmers will be astonished at the scale of the proposed cost increases and disappointed that NRW has not made more effort to streamline the application process and deliver efficiencies to reduce costs.

Worrying time

“For pig and poultry farmers, the proposed increase in charges for new and variations to permits come at an already worrying time for the sectors.”

The increases, set out in the NRW consultation on permits and licences launched on 10 October, propose increases across several charging regimes from April 2023 and also include proposals for a 10-fold increase in the cost of new applications to £3,728 for land spreading spent or unused sheep dip.

Nadia De Longhi, head of regulation & permitting regulation at NRW, said: “We have taken this step to review the charges we set for our regulatory services to ensure they are more closely linked to the actual cost of delivering these activities and to ensure charge-payers, not the public, bear the expense.

Cost of living

“We appreciate the financial impact our charging proposals might have on some businesses, especially given the wider cost of living pressures.

“While some of our permitting charges will be new, others have not been reviewed since NRW was established – or even long before that.

“The new charges will reflect the amount of regulatory effort actually needed to consider each application and, as a result, some individual charges will increase significantly, while others will decrease.”

You can respond to the consultation here: https://ymgynghori.cyfoethnaturiol.cymru/sroc/strategic-review-of-charging/