Environment Agency drops objection to Foston pig farm

THE proposed large-scale pig farm at Foston, Derbyshire, took a step forward this week as the Environment Agency withdrew its objections to the controversial development.

The agency had initially opposed Midland Pig Producers’ (MPP) plans for a unit to hold 25,000 animals, over concerns about water pollution, but has been assured by the company there will be no problems and any impact can be controlled or mitigated.

The agency has said MPP should prevent flooding by ensuring the satisfactory storage of, and disposal of, surface water from the site and improve and protect water quality, improve habitat and amenity, and ensure future maintenance of the surface water drainage system. 

Plans for the pig farm on 30 acres of land adjacent to Foston Hall women’s prison, have attracted thousands of objections, including several well known names such as actor Dominic West (The Wire, The Hour), citing a range of concerns including noise, odour and the effect on small-scale farms, while animal rights campaigners protested about welfare issues outside South Derbyshire District Council offices in Swadlincote.

At the time, the company said the unit would be fitted with new technology which meant there would be no odours and that animal welfare was a priority.

A spokesperson for MPP said: “Naturally we are pleased the Environment Agency now agrees with our longstanding view that the plans for the pig farm at Foston meet the necessary standards and regulations. 

“This is, of course, a big step in the right direction but the decision whether to grant us planning permission clearly rests with Derbyshire County Council and we will have to wait for their conclusions.”

A spokesman for anti-factory farming campaigners Pig Business, said: “Intensive mega- piggeries such as the one being proposed in Foston for 25,000 pigs are not the direction in which British farming should be heading.

“There has been overwhelming local opposition, with over 13,000 objections and 10,000 people signing our online petition.”

Derbyshire County Council, which will have the final say on the decision, is still considering the application and awaiting responses from its consultation, while South Derbyshire District Council will be discussing it at a planning committee meeting on Tuesday (November 1).

Readers' comments (3)

  • I recommend this article from Rolling Stone (this link contains only an excerpt from the article) by Jeff Teitz:
    It is about Smithfield Farms, a pig slavery operation in the U.S. Good luck banning this slavery in the UK.

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  • Surely this industrial corporate farming is killing small farmers off.

    If they are confident of animal welfare can they label all pork - reared intensively, indoors - if they feel this is the right path?

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  • MPP are claiming that this "new technology" will allow the farm to be effectively odourless, the filtration system removing 97% of odour and ammonia from the slurry. This figure is not supported by the filtration system manufacturers, who put the figure at 80% efficiency for odour, 90% for ammonia and 90% for germs and endotoxins. This means that odours of the equivalent of 5000 pigs, and germs and endotoxins equivalent to that of 2500 pigs would be emitted.

    The Health Protection Agency's have also found that multi-drug resistant airborne pathogens are capable of spreading up to 150 metres downwind, yet the fact that there is a women's prison just 130m downwind continues to be ignored.

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