The Committee on Agriculture of the European Parliament has voted against proposals to put a permitting system in place for family farms under the EU Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).

Under the European Commission’s proposed changes to the IED, a permitting regime would be extended to many more farms than it currently applies to, including, for the first time, cattle farms.

The IED already applies to large pig and poultry operations.

Last month, the Council of the EU adopted its position on the changes, rejecting much of the commission’s most stringent proposals.

Similarly, MEPs in the agriculture committee of the European Parliament voted this week to reject some of the most significant aspects of the commission’s proposal.

The committee’s amendments to the draft directive push for the exclusion of all extensive farming, small-scale family farming, and organic farming from the scope of the IED.

The committee also called on the commission to set down general definitions of extensive, family, and organic farming, and for member states to also set down definitions.

The committee adopted its position on a vote of 36 votes to eight, with two abstentions.

The vote in the committee was welcomed by Copa-Cogeca, the umbrella group of EU farming organisations and co-operatives, which said: “The committee simply rejected the commission’s ill-suited legislative instrument towards livestock farming.

“From a symbolic standpoint, agriculture MEPs showed their support to EU farmers by rejecting the denomination of ‘industrial installations’, such as mining coal or producing chemicals, for family farming,” the group added.

Copa warned that extending the IED out to smaller farms, in line with the commission’s proposal, would “place unbearable requirements on small and medium-sized farms, risking liquidation [and] excessive concentration on existing farms, and shifting consumption [to] products originating in non-EU countries”.

As well as limiting the scope of the new IED rules, the parliament also amended the commission’s proposal to ease and simplify new administrative requirements on larger operators that the permitting regime will apply to.

The proposed changes will now have to be discussed and voted on by the parliament’s environment committee and subsequently a full sitting of the parliament.

After that, negotiations will begin between the parliament and the Council of the EU to decide the final text of the new legislation.