Plans to hike application costs for sheep dip permits scrapped

Environment and climate
Sheep in a field

The Environment Agency has said it will not be increasing application charges for sheep dip disposal following NFU feedback highlighting the potential impact on animal welfare.

The NFU responded to the EA’s (Environment Agency’s) consultation on charge proposals for water discharges earlier this year, opposing plans to increase the permit application fee for spreading sheep dip by 50%.

By far the greatest concern around these proposals, particularly arising from conversations with our members, was the potential for unintended consequences for animal health and welfare.

We emphasised that sheep dip is widely recognised as the most effective way of preventing scab and making this treatment less accessible to farmers by charging high fees for disposal risks wider occurrence of the disease.

Any increase – let alone one of 50% or more for a spreading permit – would have been completely unaffordable.”

NFU Livestock Board chair David Barton

In response, the EA has said ‘we have listened to these concerns and fully considered the options’, confirming that it will hold application charges for sheep dip disposal at the current rate of £2,708.

Price hike ‘unaffordable’

NFU Livestock Board chair David Barton said “the NFU is extremely pleased” the EA won’t be pushing ahead with the 50% increase.

“For many sheep farmers, the annual fee and application fees are already far too high and any increase – let alone one of 50% or more for a spreading permit – would have been completely unaffordable,” he added.

David urged members using on-farm facilities to dispose of or spread dip, to obtain the appropriate permit now before any future price increases.

“Fines may be significant if regulatory action needs to be taken while non-compliance can damage the reputation of the livestock sector,” David warned.

Subsistence charges of £267 for the disposal of less than 5m3 of sheep dip, and £938 for disposal of more than 5m3 of sheep dip, came into force on 1 June.

Read the EA’s response in full: GOV.UK | Consultation response summary: charge proposals for water quality permits.

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