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Industrial pollution control down on the farm : integrated pollution prevention & control and intensive pig farming

Cullen, Richard J.


Richard J. Cullen


L. E. Frostick

D. C. (David C.), 1955 Gibbs

Huw I. Griffiths


Multi-medium pollution control has finally transcended the boundary from its roots in traditional manufacturing industry, and has entered the realm of intensive pig farming. This research has revealed the problems that face pig farmers when confronted by the Integrated Pollution Prevention & Control (IPPC) Directive (1996/61/EC). It has developed approaches that could assist intensive pig farmers in making important choices. A parallel study of the re-licensing of landfill facilities, an industry that is a veteran of licensing, has provided an ideal comparator. The literature on both industries was extensively searched for what was previously known. This has been supported by original research, including interviews with both landfill managers and pig farmers. These interviews were preceded by tours of landfill sites and pig farms - something that is seldom performed within the data collection stage of research where interviews are used. Differences between words and actions became apparent. These were analysed and their motivating factors considered. These discrepancies, evident through this verification process, serves to caution other researchers about the distortions that can arise when interviews alone are used. Identifying these discrepancies is also important because policy is often formulated using information collected though interview-based surveys. It may be the case that policy outcome deficit can result from the difference between words and actions.

For decades farming has been moulded by society's desires in a similar vein to a nationalised industry. However, it is not a nationalised industry, but a collection of private individuals, family businesses, and larger companies. Multi-medium pollution control has been tried before. Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) was pioneered in England and Wales in 1991. Comparing the first years of that regime with the experiences that the Environment Agency are currently having reveals that many of the lessons have not been learnt. The funding available to the regulator, and the charges levied against the regulated are negotiated through compromises whereby environmental protection may be the loser. In this study, industry structures have been examined, revealing that the landfill industry is biased towards large operating companies. Re-licensing for the landfill industry is essentially a tightening of existing emission control, with relatively few additions. Landfill operators have the ability to pass costs on. Different experiences have been found between small and large landfill operators. Many small operators will go out of business. In this context it is noted that the structure of the intensive pig farming industry is biased towards smaller operators. Existing literature demonstrates that Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have difficulty implementing environmental regulation. Through this study, this knowledge has been supplemented by close examination of two industries that have hitherto been omitted from the SME - environmental regulation debate. Industry characteristics are important factors that are here explored in detail, through inter-industry comparisons based upon size and through size comparisons within each industry. Within both industries large size is not just a scaled-up version of a small business. In fact the cultures and organisational structures are different. Essentially, intensive pig farmers have limited choices. Those at the small end of the scale may be able to de-stock and temporarily escape the threshold beyond which strict environmental controls come into play. Many at this scale may decide to retire and abandon pig farming. Alternatives for these farmers include pursuing niche or more specialised markets. Intermediate in size, Family Farming Businesses exhibit characteristics of both large and small businesses. Their future is a little more uncertain as there is a momentum to continue farming - a key characteristic which makes family businesses different. The largest businesses are better placed to implement the controls, or to challenge and to find the least cost compliance route. However, the competition from imports, and an inability to gain more for the meat they produce may force this category to increase the size of operation even further, so as to lower unit costs.


Cullen, R. J. (2005). Industrial pollution control down on the farm : integrated pollution prevention & control and intensive pig farming. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 22, 2013
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Geography
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Geography, The University of Hull
Award Date Jul 1, 2005


Thesis (52.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2005 Cullen, Richard J. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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