UFU comment on NIEA’s decision to lift planning advice pause

UFU deputy president David Brown on his farm in Fermanagh. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) decision to lift its temporary pause in the provision of ammonia planning advice is positive news for Northern Ireland (NI) farmers.

Commenting, UFU president David Brown said, “The UFU has been lobbying to get planning consultations with ammonia considerations underway again to allow farmers to progress with developing their farming enterprises, and we are pleased our efforts have paid off. To say our members were frustrated by NIEA’s decision to halt planning applications earlier this year was an understatement. Many had made financial commitments and, in some cases spent thousands of pounds on planning applications backed up by essential evidence, only to be left high and dry. NIEA’s decision to lift the pause on ammonia planning advice will be welcome news, particularly for farmers with applications lingering in the system for many months.

“The resumption of planning advice will have benefits for the environment, local communities and the wider NI economy. Farmers are already working to reduce ammonia emissions and are eager to do more by developing their farm efficiently to continue producing sustainable high-quality produce for consumers. Enabling farmers to upgrade farm buildings, improve animal and bird welfare and environmental standards is vital. NIEA must now get to work urgently and progress applications allowing farmers to continue with on farm developments, ensuring a sustainable agri-industry.”