AN EAST Yorkshire farmer claimed this week (w/e May 7) that the operators of the country‘s newest airport had told him to get rid of his pigs “because they attracted birds which could be sucked into the engines of their aircraft”.

Richard Longthorp of Howden, said he had been in dispute with Peel Holdings, the company which runs the new Robin Hood Doncaster-Sheffield Airport, since 2000.

Then, the airport told him that his farm – which lies about 20 miles from the airport site at Finningley – was a “bird-strike” black spot.

Mr Longthorp – a former chairman of the National Pig Association – said he was told that the large numbers of birds which congregated around his pigs posed a risk to aircraft because they might fly into the engines.

He claims that, after being told that his pigs would have to go, he had repeatedly asked the company for more information but that this had not been forthcoming.

In the meantime he had allowed his stock to decrease in number and had postponed various investment decisions.

Mr Longthorp accused Peel of being “arrogant and wacky” and said he had now decided to order new breeding stock and was determined to stay on the land that his family had farmed for decades.

“We were shocked when Peel said the pigs were a risk and would have to go. We asked for more information but their response was by and large to ignore us,” he said.

“My business has been in limbo for four years, but now I‘m restocking my pig units with breeding stock and Peel and their damned airport can go to hell.”

A spokesman for Peel Holdings confirmed that the company was talking to Mr Longthorp but declined to comment further.