Appeal likely as 1,000-a-week pig unit blocked

By Linda Groves

- Last updated on GMT

Odour pollution risk scuppers Foston pig farm plans
Odour pollution risk scuppers Foston pig farm plans

Related tags: Pig, Risk

A top UK pig producer looks likely to contest a decision blocking the development of its plans for a major Derbyshire pig unit, an industry boss has said.

The 2,500-sow unit planned by Midland Pig Producers (MPP) in Foston would produce 1,000 piglets a week and employ an additional 18 people.

A spokesman for BPEX, the levy paying body for pig producers, believed MPP intended to appeal the agency’s decision to the environment secretary Liz Truss, if necessary.

MPP did not confirm this, but a company spokeswoman told “Now that we have an actual decision we can move forward. This is not the end of the matter, but the beginning of the second stage.”

The Environment Agency (EA) refused a permit for the pig farm this week, stating it was not satisfied the odour management proposals would be sufficient.

Odour control

There was considerable uncertainty around the effectiveness of MPP’s proposed odour control and plans to minimise the risk of odour pollution to residents, the EA said in its refusal document.

“This is specifically in relation to the pig house air extraction abatement system design and contingency plans, and to the measures to minimise risk of fugitive odour emissions from the pig rearing facilities,”​ it added.

According to BPEX, if given approval, the unit would be an example of modern pig production practises and would go “beyond what is current best available technique for pig production”.

Fiercely opposed

The development of the unit had been fiercely opposed by residents and campaign groups since 2011. Opposition groups included Farms Not Factories, which campaigns for consumers to buy pork from traditional family farms, and the Foston Community Action Group.

Residents and the groups had called for the whole scheme to be abandoned following the agency’s decision.

Jim Davies, leader of the Foston Community Action Group, said: “The applicants provided insufficient information and should now abandon this flawed scheme forever.”

Tracy Worcester, director of Farms not Factories, added: “Now the Environment Agency has listened and it’s time for MPP to withdraw their planning application and give local people back their peace of mind.”

MPP won the Enterprise and Innovation title in the Food & Farming Industry Awards in December 2013 for its dedication to advancing animal welfare standards and enhancing pig production techniques.

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