Mooing cattle recorded in bitter row over noise

Mooing cattle on a Yorkshire farm will be recorded for a year in a bid to end a bitter planning row between an organic beef farmer and his neighbour.

The row over noise began after farmer Ed Cartwright erected a small general-purpose barn in 2016 at the 60ha mixed-stocking Swillington Farm, near Leeds, West Yorkshire.

See also: Planning permission advice for farmers

The local council granted approval for the barn’s construction under permitted development rights and allowed it to store hay and animal feed.

But an increase in the beef herd from 70 to 110 head meant existing housing lacked space, so from March 2017 the building was occasionally used to shelter lambing sheep or cattle.

A grazing agreement on 140ha of RSPB land also required the cattle to be moved back to Swillington at certain times of the year.

However, the construction sparked complaints from one neighbour, who contacted Leeds City Council claiming the barn was not approved for housing cattle.

Ed Cartwright's shed

Ed Cartwright’s shed

Retrospective change

Council officials advised Mr Cartwright to apply for a retrospective change of use, believing that would bring the matter to an end.

Instead, the complaints from neighbour James Bullock grew and the case went before a Leeds City Council panel on 5 July.

Mr Bullock told the meeting his life had been blighted by cattle noises, according to BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service.

“They [the Cartwright’s] decided they would build a barn, without consulting me, right in front of my house,” he said.

“The noise has been intolerable. I have to lie there in bed listening to this bellowing.”

Mr Bullock then played a recording of cattle noises to councillors.

‘Not representative’

However, speaking to Farmers Weekly after the meeting, a frustrated Mr Cartwright said he had told the panel the recording was not representative.

“If cattle are housed in the barn they are further away from his [Mr Bullock’s] house than they would be if they were grazing in the field. The housing itself isn’t a factor in the noise, which only amounts to the occasional moo.

“I also said the cattle had been recorded on one day when we were late feeding – ironically because we had been trying to sort out this case,” Mr Cartwright added.

He said the case had wasted a lot of extra time and the question of “how quiet the country should be” was an impossible one to answer.

Despite the ongoing feud, both parties agreed with the council officer’s recommendations to grant temporary permission to the site for the next year.

Recording equipment will be installed at points in Mr Bullock’s house and independently monitored before a full review in 12 months’ time.