ABP stalls on Sturminster plans

Anglo Beef Processors (ABP) has temporarily withdrawn a planning application to expand its abattoir at Sturminster Newton in Dorset.

Planners at North Dorset District Council had been concerned that excessive noise from a proposed new refrigeration plant could be a nuisance to local residents. However, planners anticipated that the application would be resubmitted.

Both the council and ABP have denied local media reports that the application was withdrawn due to allegations of welfare breaches, after an undercover investigation by animal activists. Earlier in the year, Animal Aid campaigners filmed what they claimed were cruel stunning practices at the plant. This, in turn, led to a temporary suspension of trading with Sainsbury's from the plant.

However, ABP said the Sturminster Newton plant has now been upgraded and that there was no link with the withdrawal of the planning application and the Animal Aid allegations.

ABP issued the following statement to Meat Trades Journal: "The Sturminster Newton abattoir has been substantially upgraded since ABP purchased the plant in August 2009. Since the incident took place, ABP has initiated a comprehensive series of actions, including new equipment and the installation of new CCTV cameras."

ABP insisted that expansion plans for the site were still in place.

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