The UK poultry industry has a chance to become more sustainable – both economically and environmentally - thanks to new European laws which will allow them to make use of chicken litter for on-farm energy, the NFU said today.
From July 15, all poultry farmers across the EU will be allowed to combust poultry litter on-farm to create energy. The issue has been the subject of sustained NFU lobbying over several years.
NFU poultry board chairman Duncan Priestner said: “This represents a massive, positive development for the poultry industry, an industry which embraces new technology and is keen to make use of on-farm by-products, both to the benefit of business and the environment, by relying less on traditional energy sources.
“There are also a number of other benefits, including healthier birds, minimised biosecurity risks and opportunities to use nutrient-rich ash on farmland.
“Our poultry farmers will be able to take advantage of these opportunities, and we are working closely with government to ensure it keeps regulatory burden to a minimum, costs down, re-enforces its commitment to supporting renewable energy and sustainable food production and that systems are in place to approve combustion plants as soon as possible.”
NFU, Defra, EA and AHVLA staff during a site visit to Nigel and Patrick Joice's farm.
NFU member and Norfolk-based poultry farmers Nigel and Patrick Joice, who produce 5.8million birds per year, have been trialling the system since 2012.
Their two 500kw biomass burners have managed to produce up to 93 per cent of the farm’s heat requirements and this research has helped to shape legislation.
The changes are part of the Animal By-Product Implementing Regulations, which allow on-farm combustion of poultry litter for fuel, which have now been published in the European Union’s Official Journal. Read more here.