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).