New figures have revealed more than 40 per cent of sheep dip disposal costs are tied up with indirect permitting costs and charges.
The figures, obtained by the NFU through a Freedom of Information request, found more than £1150 of new permit application costs were used for indirect permitting costs such as IT, head office and legal costs, while £390 of renewal applications was spent on indirect charges.
The union – included in a cross-industry group with the National Sheep Association and others – used the figures to target Defra and the Environment Agency to reconsider its decision to increase the cost of sheep dip disposal permits, which have already seen a rise of up to 590 per cent.
It called on the departments to ‘urgently enter productive discussions with the industry’.
NFU livestock board chairman Richard Findlay said: “If this situation continues, I believe there could be serious implications for the long term health and welfare of our sheep.
“We need a solution that recognises that we must minimise our environmental impact but do so in a way that improves our animals’ health and welfare.
“We urgently need a joined up approach across Defra.”
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker added: “The situation for farmers is that they are faced with a sharply increased cost and have no choice but to pay to ensure the welfare of their animals.
“This decision needs quick and serious consideration from government – we are still awaiting a response to our concerns.”
Members of the cross-industry group include: the NFU, NSA, Sheep Health and Welfare Group, Sustainable Control of Parasites, National Association of Agricultural Contractors and Bimeda.