EU plans review of the Industrial Emissions Directive

07 April 2022

Pigs Poultry Livestock Dairy Environment Farm Business
Dairy farm

The Commission presented proposals on 5 April to update the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), bringing much more of the Union’s livestock sector into the scope of the rules controlling pollution. The rules will now cover the rearing of cattle, pigs or poultry in installations of 150 livestock units (LSU) or more, & rearing of any mix of the following animals: cattle, pigs, poultry, in installations of 150 LSU or more.

Livestock unit coefficients

Bovine animals

Under 1 year old



1 but less than 2 years old



Male, 2 years old and over



Heifers, 2 years old and over



Dairy cows



Other cows, 2 years old and over


Sheep and goats




Piglets having a live weight of under 20 kg



Breeding sows weighing 50 kg and over



Other pigs






Laying hens



Other poultry



Furthermore, the new Chapter would further lay down requirements concerning specific permitting procedures suited to the sector and operating rules for livestock farms that would take into consideration the nature, type, size, density as well as complexity of these installations and allow to establish proportionate requirements for different farming practices.

According to the Commission, the IED currently covers around 50,000 large industrial installations & intensive livestock farms in Europe. The 2010 law originally covered intensive rearing of poultry or pigs with more than 40,000 poultry or with more than 2,000 pigs (over 30kg), or with more than 750 places for sows. The EU’s executive insists the plan is needed for Europe’s transition towards a zero-pollution economy by 2050, but French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said that the proposal did not “take account of the reality on our farms,” and vowed to fight at Council level “to put reason back into the text.”

Less strict emission limits would be established by the competent authority as a derogation only where an assessment shows that the achievement of emission levels would lead to disproportionately high costs compared to environmental benefits due to i) the geographical location or local environmental conditions of the installations and ii) technical characteristics of the installation.

Copa and Copega reaction: "This revision would force thousands of family livestock farms to comply with a costly emission protocol designed primarily for large companies. Only a few days after the institutions' communications on the EU's need for food strategic autonomy, this accounting, ideological and disconnected from the farm reality approach is felt as a blow across Europe by livestock farmers."