Published: 09/02/2013 09:00

Pig farm bosses told to withdraw their scheme

Written byBY JENNY MOODY

Animal rights demo outside SDDC ref Foston pig farm Animal rights demo outside SDDC ref Foston pig farm

BOSSES behind controversial pig farm plans have been told to withdraw their submission by a councillor after another delay.

Councillor Martyn Ford, planning committee chairman for South Derbyshire District Council, but who also heads up the regulatory planning control committee on Derbyshire County Council, has called for the Foston Pig Farm plans to be temporarily withdrawn.

The county council has told applicants, Midland Pig Producers (MPP), that it should resubmit the proposal to build the pig farm which would house more than 25,000 pigs on a 70 acre site, to give the public the opportunity to ‘express their view on the scheme including the totality of changes and additional information.’

This is in response to a request from MPP for an extension until April 30 to submit further information.

Although the council’s environmental services agreed to the extension, Councillor Ford expressed his disappointment that there is going to be a further delay.

He said: “Before Christmas MPP came to us with a request for a delay and then came back at the end of January asking for another three months to request information from the environment agency.

“So Rob Murfin, head of planning at Derbyshire County Council, and I made the decision to ask them to withdraw their plans and submit a complete application when they have gathered all the information.

“We have written to express our disappointment that there is another delay.”

Tracy Worcester, head of Farms Not Factories which has backed the local campaign against the proposed intensive pig farm, says that it is clear the council is losing patience with MPP who first applied for planning permission in March 2010.

“Local people do not want an intensive pig rearing unit which would imprison up to 25,000 pigs close to their homes.

“Despite the intention to use anaerobic digesters and some filtration of emissions, this number of pigs housed in such intensive conditions will produce unacceptable toxic stench and the waste and will pollute the nearby fields and leach into the water system.

“It will also be a breeding ground for antibiotic – resistant bacteria which are a danger to human health.

“The site of this unwanted pig factory is less than 150 metres upwind from a women’s prison which includes a natal facility, so the health risk is unacceptable as is the potential traffic chaos when the stream of heavy lorries used to transport feed, equipment, livestock and stinking waste block the country roads around the village.

“The way forward for pig rearing is smaller, more efficient farms using traditional methods that put care for animals and the environment above industrial methods of pig production which require the animals to be fed antibiotics to prevent illnesses and infections caused by the stressful, overcrowded conditions.”

A petition against the pig factory has been signed by 27,000 people.

A spokesman for MPP said: “We too feel that this application has been outstanding for too long, which is a result of requests from various authorities for further information.

“We would be pleased to see a speedy conclusion and fully anticipate that we will be able to meet the April 30 deadline.”

The development in Foston was first suggested in 2009 and if granted will see the mass number of pigs on land close to homes and 492ft (150 metres) from HMP Foston Hall prison, which has its own childbirth unit.

Residents are concerned over the potential health risks, as well as potential problems with noise, dust, traffic, vermin and odours.

Sue Weston, who lives near the site, has previously told the Advertiser the process has lead to her health suffering.

She said: “We have had the threat of this development hanging over our family for nearly four years – my son has recently had open heart surgery and I have been suffering with ill health brought on by the stress.

“This nightmare must end – it proves how ill-conceived the plans are and how the implications on health were not considered.

“I’m one of hundreds of local residents who will be affected by this.”

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