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European Commission to probe agri-industry expansion plan

16 Jul 2012

The Irish Times

FRANK McDONALD, Environment Editor

THE EUROPEAN Commission is to investigate complaints that the agri-industry's Food Harvest 2020 expansion plan is proceeding without proper scrutiny of its likely impact on the environment.

Fifteen Irish environmental groups complained to the commission that only an ad hoc "environmental analysis of various scenarios" is being carried out by consultants, with the aid of submissions from interested parties.

Under the plan, milk and pig-meat production would increase by 50 per cent, beef and sheep output by 20 per cent, poultry production by 10 per cent and fish farming by 78 per cent by 2020.

Apart from the potential impact on special areas of conservation, there is concern that such increases in production would exacerbate agriculture's already large contribution to Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions.

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