Plans for a new pig farm in Lincolnshire have been approved despite heavy opposition from locals and anti-meat campaigners.
On Wednesday (21 September), the West Lindsey District Council planning committee approved a second application from farmer Tim Elwess to build two rearing units large enough to house 2,000 pigs and a building for straw storage on land in Upton, near Gainsborough.
Plans were initially opposed by Upton parish council, which expressed concerns from residents about noise and odour.
Opposition later extended beyond local concerns when Animal Aid joined the fight.
In January, with more than 4,000 objections lodged, Mr Elwess’ first application was refused before being considered by the planning committee due to a technicality – prompting a redraft of the application, including changes to address concerns raised by local residents.
His plans have now been approved, despite the number of objections to the plans growing to more than 7,500.
Tonight the planning committee have approved plans for a pig farm on land off Cow Lane, Upton.
— West Lindsey DC (@WestLindseyDC) September 21, 2016
Isobel Hutchinson, head of campaigns at Animal Aid, says it is “deeply disappointed” that the plans for what it dubbed a “factory farm” were given the go-ahead despite “overwhelming public opposition”.
“The farm will cause nearly 2,000 pigs at a time to suffer in crowded conditions, before facing a brutal and terrifying death at the slaughterhouse,” she says.
Meanwhile, the National Pig Association (NPA) has welcomed the news.
“This is great news as it proves local councils are prepared to make decisions on the basis of the actual planning issues in front of them,” says Lizzie Wilson, policy service officer at the NPA.
“Misinformation breeds fear but, in reality, this proposal will bring considerable benefits,” she says.
“This proposal is ideally located outside the village with careful consideration given to issues raised during the planning process. Although local residents are disappointed, they’re unlikely to know it is even there once the unit is up and running.”
Unsurprisingly, Mr Elwess was pleased to have been given permission to proceed with the development.
“Building anything in the countryside is always going to cause something of a stir, but Lincolnshire is a very large, agricultural county and we have many excellent growers of cereals, rearers of stock, and producers of quality foodstuffs here,” he says.
“The UK has very high standards of animal welfare, and while some people choose not to eat meat, there is a growing demand for outdoor-bred, indoor straw-based finished premium pork and I am pleased we will be able to help supply that need from pigs in the UK.
“I’d also like to give my thanks to all those people involved in helping with the whole planning process, who’s help and advice has been especially welcome,” he adds.