Environment Agency objects to pig farm plans amid fears of pollution
OBJECTIONS have been raised by the Environment Agency over controversial plans for a pig farm near Foston.
Midland Pig Producers wants to house up to 25,000 animals on the 28-hectare site, west of Woodland Drive and would use slurry from the farm to generate electricity for the National Grid.
Public consultation on the proposals have opened and more than 2,000 objections have already been received – including a letter from the Environment Agency.
It said it objected because the applicant had failed to provide enough information about how it would manage pollution risks.
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In the statement, the agency said: "The applicant has not supplied adequate information to demonstrate that the risks posed to groundwater can be satisfactorily managed. We recommend that planning permission should be refused on this basis."
The agency said its policy was to oppose development proposals that may pollute groundwater, particularly where the risk was high.
It said: "In this case, we consider that the proposed development may pose an unacceptable risk of causing a detrimental impact to groundwater quality."
The firm previously applied for planning permission to South Derbyshire District Council and a public consultation drew more than 2,800 objections.
But Derbyshire County Council took over the case when it became clear the plans involved "substantial waste management" – part of the authority's remit.
Midland Pig Producers said, if permission was granted, construction would begin in 2012.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: "Every effort has been made to provide the Environment Agency with all the information it requires.
"However, it appears that we are now being asked to provide information that was not requested originally.
"This is being addressed as quickly as possible and we are working to clear up any outstanding issues."
Animal rights group Viva has previously said it does not believe a farm on such a large scale will properly look after the animals' welfare.
Justin Kerswell, campaign manager for the group, said: "We and local people are absolutely delighted that the Environment Agency upheld our concerns.
"It's a significant point in the battle to stop this proposal and, while it is not the end, the fact the agency is not convinced is a major obstacle for the firm.
"It is important for the planning committee to take this on board because it vindicates exactly what we have been saying."
A date for the meeting is yet to be arranged.