Farmers hoping to build new sheds for their enterprises over the coming years will be hit with new development charges running into tens of thousands of euros by local authorities.
A survey by the Farming Independent shows that some county councils are charging more than €40,000 for a 1,000sqm livestock shed. This is a typical six-bay shed with a lie-back capable of accommodating approximately 200 cattle.
However, if a farmer is proposing to build a shed for what local authorities consider an 'intensive animal enterprise', such as poultry or pigs, the charges can be even higher.
South Tipperary is levying farmers €64,030 for a 1,000sqm shed for such enterprises.
Louth is demanding €40,150, while Cork is charging its farmers €30,590.
Kildare and Louth make no allowance for whether the shed is to be used for an intensive livestock enterprise or not. For a 1,000sqm shed in Louth, a charge of €40,150 applies, while €38,000 applies in Kildare.
Limerick charges €28,710 for sheds of 1,000sqm if they exceed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) threshold. This equates to 750 sows or 400 breeding cows.
Only two county councils -- Waterford and Kildare -- are prepared to waive the huge charges in cases where new buildings are required to comply with EU directives.
The charges will come as a shock to farmers hoping to expand over the coming years.
The disparity between local authorities on the amount being levied on new developments is also set to become a bone of contention.
When asked why it had imposed such large development levies, South Tipperary Council said: "It was considered equitable that developers contribute to the financial burden associated with the provision of enhanced infrastructure networks facilitating new developments."
However, the IFA's Pat Farrell said that the rises in charges at councils such as Kildare were simply an example of "cash-strapped councils looking for money.
"The IFA will be mounting a nationwide campaign to tackle this issue because cattle don't benefit from street lighting," he said.
- Darragh McCullough and Emma Ryan