Mega pig-farm plan suffers blow
Midland Pig Producers (MPP) has had its proposal for a pig farm, which would house up to 22,500 pigs, turned down by South Derbyshire District Council (SDDC). While rejection at a local district council level is a blow to the company, it will not find out the final outcome until Derbyshire County Council makes a decision before the end of the year.
The proposal had attracted opposition from local campaigners, worried about greater traffic flow, noxious smells and an increased risk of disease. It had also attracted vigorous opposition from animal rights campaigners, spearheaded by the activist group and film-makers Pig Business, who argue that the intensification of the farming will result in US-style factory farms that are detrimental to animal health and welfare, and the routine use of antibiotics. There have been more than 13,000 objections and 10,000 signatories opposing the plan.
However, earlier this week, The Environment Agency (EA) dropped its objections, after deciding that the risks of pollution to ground water were minimal.
A spokesman for MPP said it was disappointing that members of the planning committee had decided to ignore the recommendation of the professional planning officers. The report considered by the planning committee recommended no objection.
She said: “We are aware that a handful of local people are opposing the plans, but the vast majority of those objecting are not local residents. As we have pointed out previously, we have never expected to have the support of those activists who do not eat meat.”
MPP had argued that the plans include a state-of-the-art filtration system which offers the highest level of biosecurity. It said it was committed to animal welfare as a top priority, and that it would adhere to strict Defra guidelines and Assured Food Standards.
The Soil Association welcomed the decision. Policy director Peter Melchett said: “We are pleased that South Derbyshire District Council has listened to concerns about the risks to health this proposal poses, which have been put forward by large numbers of local residents and the government’s independent advisory body on health issues.”
However, local resident Jim Davies from the Foston Community Forum said that the proposed filtration system did not provide 100% reassurance or a 100% guarantee on people’s health.
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