Ministry of Justice objects to Foston pig unit

THE controversial Foston pig farm planned for Derbyshire has been dealt another blow after it was opposed by the Ministry of Justice.

The site for the proposed 25,000 pig unit is situated adjacent to the listed Foston Hall women’s prison.

Campaigners said the Ministry cited ‘operational traffic, odour, noise, impact on the listed Foston Hall [and] operational implications for emergency procedures’.

The letter of objection said: “The Secretary of State is responsible for the safe operation of prison property, as well as those who are accommodated in or are users of its property.”

The Ministry of Justice has previously refused to take a position regarding the proposal while it conducted a national female prison estate review.

As part of the plans developed from the review, HMP Foston will be expanded and refurbished to accommodate the planned closure of female prisons in Yorkshire and Kent.

This will include the establishment of a specialist unit for particularly vulnerable women.

The majority of the investment will come from health services, as the facility is re-purposed as a ‘resettlement’ prison.

Foston campaigners said a source close to the prison was pessimistic about the prospects for Midland Pig Producers (owned by the Leavesley Group) and the proposal.

“The planned size of this farm in such close proximity to a large community of often very vulnerable women with complex health issues cannot now in any way be ignored,” the campaigners said.

Jim Davies, spokesman for the Foston Community Forum, added: “A facility of this size and nature is an industrial site. We have no reason to believe it will not release harmful emissions and create an environment for prisoners, prison staff and local residents conducive to stress and stress-related disorders.

“Clearly it is not appropriate for it be located within 100m of anyone - but particularly not vulnerable female prisoners, who would be unable to move away. Derbyshire County Council must recognise what we all know to be unacceptable and deny planning permission.”

Foston Community Forum has been campaigning against the proposed pig farm on the basis of health fears, traffic volume, odour, degraded quality of life and the undermining of smaller scale farms regionally and nationally.

More than 30,000 people have signed a national petition against the plans, opposing the application on environmental, public health and animal welfare grounds.

Readers' comments (3)

  • why not get the prisoners to run the farm?

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  • Seconded. If appropriate female prisoners were given the opportunity to train and work on the pig unit they would jump at the chance. With the way such institutions are run here, that's surely the reason they will never be asked for their opinion. In the meantime we import 170 wagon loads of pigmeat per working day. Until we bake a bigger cake there are no more crumbs for any of us.

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  • The problem with asking prisoners to do work is bio security . Its already a high traffic area and the pig units will be only metres away from the prison boundary. The implications are huge for the inmates carrying bio hazards into or out of the prison. The visitors to the prison and released prisoners could then radiate out to all parts of the UK and spread infection ( Visitors travel from all parts of the UK and abroad to visit) . And it would work in the opposite direction. Most pig units are subject to stringent security measures, but visitors are deliberately kept to a minimum. This unit will already be subject to thousands of vehicle movements per year and thousands of visitor movements - Does it make sense to further risk the spread of disease by inviting prisoners in- the prison are already facing a multitude of negative issues as a result of the plans. The prison is the perfect method of incubation and transmission of disease to all parts of the UK - Do you think prison visitors will be wanting to wash their shoes in a footbath every time they visit the inmates? I doubt it. If foot and mouth strikes , the prison could be severely affected. This type of farm, if it has to be built should be miles away from habitation

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