UK - Midland Pig Producers has withdrawn its current Planning Application for a pig farm, with associated biogas plant, at land near Foston Prison in Derbyshire.
A spokesperson for Midland Pig Producers said: “In light of the Environment Agency’s decision to refuse our application for a Environmental Permit we have reluctantly decided to withdraw our planning application for the Foston Pig Unit and Anaerobic Digestion Plant to enable us to consider the options available to us.
“Unfortunately, the time taken by the Environment Agency to reach its conclusions has drawn out the entire process way beyond our initial estimates, something totally beyond our control, but we appreciate the pressure this has placed on the planning authorities and the lengthy period of uncertainty for local residents, both of which we feel could have been avoided.
“We believe that there should be a fundamental overhaul of the planning and permit application process to prevent such a long-winded situation from occurring again.”
Application and Environment Agency Decision
In February 2015, the Environment Agency announced it had refused the application in accordance with the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales) 2010.
The Agency commented that it came to this decision after completing a rigorous assessment of the application, which included reviewing further information submitted by the applicant and all public consultation responses.
After considering all of the information, the Environment Agency said it was not satisfied that the activities can be undertaken without resulting in significant pollution of the environment due to odour.
Midland Pig Producers Limited applied to the Environment Agency for an environmental permit for a proposed pig unit and anaerobic digestion plant on land adjacent to Foston Prison on Uttoxeter Road, DE65 5DL on 29 March 2011, according to the Agency.
The operator was asked to provide more details, which it submitted in a final revised application in October 2014.
The permit application related to the installation of 14 pig houses with the capacity for up to 24,500 pigs (2,500 are sows and 14,000 are production pigs, and with up to 8,000 associated pigs from weaning). The permit application also includes an anaerobic digestion plant and biogas combustion for the treatment of pig manures and slurries.
The permit application was subject to public consultation in July 2013. Since submitting the original permit application in March 2011, the Environment Agency received over 100 representations from the public.
Local Campaigners Welcome Decision
Campaigning organisation, Farms Not Factories, has said that the refusal of an environmental permit by the Environment Agency is a significant victory for local campaigners.
More than 38,000 objections were lodged in a four-year struggle by residents that was backed by celebrities including actor Dominic West, it says.
Mr West said: "The proposed factory farming of 25,000 pigs is an abomination", said Dominic West. "I hope MPP will not just set up somewhere else so, when we buy British, we know we are not supporting this type of cruel and dangerous farming. The costs are much too high, from the superficial horrors of stench and stressed, unhealthy animals to antibiotic resistance that brings us closer to the end of antibiotics as a cure for human diseases. The world must move on, and we can all help by only buying pork from high-welfare UK farms."
Farms Not Factories welcomed the news that the application had been refused.
Its director, Tracy Worcester, said: "Intensive, indoor animal factories belong to the past. We hope this means people are waking up to the importance of knowing where their food comes from as well as the hidden costs of intensive farming.
"Industrial-scale farming threatens the livelihood of high welfare farmers in rural communities."
Local resident, Sue Weston, said: "It has been horrendously stressful so our relief is immense. Our house is on the market and twice buyers pulled out when they understood the size of the proposed pig factory. If they try to set up somewhere else we will all help others to oppose it."
South Derby District and County Councillor, Julie Patton commented: "It has been terribly stressful for the local residents and so today it's like a cloud’s been lifted for them."
ThePigSite News Desk