Piglets on straw© Tim Scrivener

A planning application to build a large-scale pig unit at Foston has been withdrawn.

Midland Pig Producers (MPP) announced on Wednesday (18 March) it had “reluctantly” withdrawn its planning application for a pig farm, with associated biogas plant, at land in Foston, Derbyshire.

More than 42,000 people signed a petition against the plans. Concerns were raised over potential odour, traffic and flooding.

See also: Foston pig permit rejected amid smell fears

Last month, the Environment Agency (EA) refused to issue an environmental permit for the project, saying it would result in “significant pollution due to odour”.

Despite the setback, MPP said at the time it was “not the end of the matter” and it had no plans withdraw its original planning application, which it made in 2011. 

But in light of the EA’s decision to refuse its application for an environmental permit, the company said it had withdrawn its application “to enable us to consider the options available to us”.

“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.”
Midland Pig Producers

A spokesman for MPP said: “Unfortunately, the time taken by the EA 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.”

The firm’s application included a proposed pig unit, an anaerobic digestion plant and biogas combustion for the treatment of pig manures and slurries near Foston Hall women’s prison.

The request included the installation of 14 pig houses with the capacity for up to 24,500 pigs, of which 2,500 are sows, 14,000 production pigs and 8,000 associated pigs for weaning.

A council spokeswoman confirmed: “A planning application submitted to Derbyshire County Council for a development on Uttoxeter Road, Foston, including a pig-rearing unit housing 2,500 sows was withdrawn yesterday by the applicant Midland Pig Producers.”