Manure stealth tax outrage

SUFFOLK'S horse industry was today kicking up a stink after it emerged the government is plotting a new stealth tax – on manure.New laws by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which come into force in July, mean equestrian businesses will have to buy a permit costing up to £500.

SUFFOLK'S horse industry was today kicking up a stink after it emerged the government is plotting a new stealth tax - on manure.

New laws by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which come into force in July, mean equestrian businesses will have to buy a permit costing up to £500.

The move will affect the entire industry, from livery yards to studs and riding schools, which compost muck to use as fertiliser,

Andrew Mowlah, Head of Research at the Forum of Private Business, said the move will hit the smaller firms hardest.

He said: "Our members are telling us that this new tax is absurd and has come completely out of the blue.

"Manure has been spread for as long as land has been farmed, it is ludicrous now to suddenly slap a stealth tax on the industry."

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Stacey Shimmons, of Tunstall Forest Livery, near Woodbridge said: "We're always trying to find ways of to get rid of the muck and have to pay somebody to take it away.

"I think it's hideous. There's isn't really the money in this type of business and this would just make things more difficult."

Sarah Ling, of Valley Farm Riding and Driving Centre, in Wickham Market, said she was unaware of the plans.

She added: "I would think it would affect livery yard businesses. There's quite a few people who run these yards and I think it will bump up prices.

"I hadn't heard anything about this but the government is always coming up with strange taxes."

Manure from privately kept horses is classed as household waste and will be exempt. But manure from businesses is classified as industrial waste, so the way it is kept, treated and disposed of is currently subject to the 1994 Waste Management and Licensing Regulations.

These stipulate that muck must be taken away by a licensed remover, unless it is composted on site for use as a fertiliser.

A muck heap of less than five tonnes will not incur a charge, but one of between five and 50 tonnes will cost £252 for the first year and £174 after that, while 50-400 tonnes will cost £482 for the first year and £402 each year afterwards.

The average horse produces nine tonnes of manure a year.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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