The European Commission is considering proposing binding controls on pollution emitted by agri-food businesses.

The Commission is mulling a root-and-branch reform of EU rules on pollution prevention and control.

The current legislation insists EU member states create detailed pollution permits for agri-food business and manufacturing installations, but gives governments wide latitude on their strictness. The permits must be based on "best available techniques", but analysis can reflect local conditions.

However, in proposals being drafted by the Commission, such analysis could in future be based on mandatory EU guidelines.

This move has been fuelled by the failure of member states to comply with the existing legislation. All large-scale industrial and agri-business installations were supposed to have detailed pollution permits by 30 October, but by the summer only 50% had received them.