EU member countries and the European Parliament said Wednesday they have reached a preliminary agreement on curbing industrial emissions, including those from intensive poultry and pig farms and from ore mines.

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File photo: Schwelgern coking plant, operated by German steel producer Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, is shown in in Duisburg, Germany, Wednesday, October 11, 2023.
File photo: Schwelgern coking plant, operated by German steel producer Thyssenkrupp Steel Europe, is shown in in Duisburg, Germany, Wednesday, October 11, 2023. © Martin Meissner, AP

The deal, struck late Tuesday, would “reduce harmful emissions from industry and improve public access to information,” the European Council, representing member states, said in a statement.

The lead EU lawmaker on the file, Radan Kanev, said it would “significantly” reduce emissions “without creating further red tape for industries and farmers” while bringing in stiff fines for companies violating it.

The agreement, which still has to be formally adopted, aims to bring down air, soil and water pollution from companies by revising existing rules on emissions and landfill waste.

It would also update a European pollutant release and transfer register known as E-PRTR.

The parliament noted in a statement that emissions from big agricultural companies can lead to health problems “such as asthma, bronchitis and cancer”.

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Intensive pig farms with more than 350 animals and poultry farms with more than 300 laying hens would come under the scope of the updated rules, starting from 2030 for the biggest farms.

So would the industrial mining of ores such as iron, copper, gold, nickel and platinum, and the European Commission may end up including the mining of industrial minerals at a later stage.

Each EU country would be responsible for issuing permits to companies affected by the rules, if they can show they meet relevant standards.

Penalties for violators are designed to reflect the gravity of the infringement, and will include fines ranging to at least three percent of a company’s annual turnover in the EU.

Once the member countries and the European Parliament formally sign off on the agreement, it will come into force three weeks after being published in the EU’s official administrative gazette.

It will be subject to commission review every five years, starting from 2028.

(AFP)

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