The Soil Association has renewed its calls for plans to build a 2500-sow pig farm to be scrapped after concerns were raised over the unit’s impact on local residents’ health.

Evidence sent to South Derbyshire District Council from the Health Protection Agency said housing a large number of pigs at the proposed indoor pig unit at Foston may increase the level of disease on the farm.

Over time, that may pose a threat to the health of people who live nearby.

The submission, made to the council in August, said the planning application made by Midland Pig Producers had not provided detailed analysis of the risks posed by emissions the unit made into the air.

It warned ammonia from the pigs, manure and slurry could cause respiratory problems to local residents.

The Soil Association said the HPA’s “damning evidence” could be a fatal blow to MPP’s application.

“We urge the South Derbyshire District Councillors to take this damming evidence from the HPA and the views of 13,000 members of the public who have opposed this development on board,” said Emma Hockridge, Soil Association head of policy.

“The opinion of the HPA backs up our original submission to the council which highlights the potential human health impacts of this development.”

But a spokesman from MPP said the issues raised by the HPA would be covered in the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control licence stage.

He said the buildings planned for the site had a three-stage filter system to overcome any issue of air pollution – a system which was already required in Germany and had been proven to work.

“The planning application clearly shows that the Foston Farm will have three separate systems to remove the ammonia – or ‘smell’ – causing elements at source, as recommended by the Health Protection Agency,” he added.

“These systems will also clean the air of airborne particles, making the air coming out of the units, we believe, actually cleaner than the air going in.

“By law, the practical operation of the farm must be carried out to meet the standards of the IPPC, for which our application to the Environment Agency for an appropriate licence will have to go through due process.”


Join the debate on Foston in our forums