Massive hikes in Environment Agency permit charges were proposed to reflect the ‘time and effort’ put in by staff approving them, according to EA chair Emma Howard Boyd.
Ms Howard Boyd made the remarks in response to a question from Farmers Guardian at a Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum seminar this week.
Agency plans to increase the cost of a range of permits, including those for poultry farming and spreading of waste and sheep dip, could cost farmers thousands of pounds if they go ahead unchanged.
NFU environment forum chairman Mark Pope said very little information had been provided about the basis of the changes, which have been consulted on.
Asked whether environmental concerns were behind the proposed hikes, Ms Howard Boyd said: “The reason we put out the review was because for the last six years, we have not been able to raise our charges.
“We wanted to make sure the charging regime washes its face in terms of the amount of time and effort our staff put into the various categories, and it covers the vast majority of our permit charges.
“We are in the middle of reviewing the consultation responses. The whole point of the consultation is to listen.”