Pig smell lands farmer in court

18 February 1999

Pig smell lands farmer in court

A FARMER who has been the subject of prolonged complaints about the smell from his pig unit has been told he still faces High Court action – despite being given the go-ahead for £100,000 worth of environmental improvements.

John Clarkes Rookery Farm unit is close to the main residential and business area of Woolpit, Suffolk, which has been steadily expanding towards his holding, just inside the neighbouring parish of Drinkstone.

The smell from the 8000-pig unit, which includes a swill-cooking plant, is known locally as the “Woolpit whiff” and earlier this year residents applied for a council tax reduction because of the alleged nuisance.

Last year, Mid Suffolk District Councils environmental health department sought a High Court injunction compelling Mr Clarke to contain the smell or end the activities causing it. The hearing is due to start on 1 March.

However, Mr Clarke has now obtained permission from planners for a £100,000 cooking plant designed to reduce the smell reaching the local environment, which he and his planning agent, Leslie Short, believe will solve the problem.

But John Grayling, principal environmental health officer with the district council, said this week that the High Court action would go ahead. “We are not convinced it is the complete solution,” he said.

The new plant would not affect muck handling and other smell-making activities, he said.

Mr Short, however, insisted that legal proceedings should at least be shelved until the effects of the forthcoming improvements were known. “There is no need for this to go to court now,” he said.

Mr Clarke has had plans to build homes on the site of the piggery rejected on the grounds it is outside the residential development zone.

He wanted to use the money from the sale of the land to help finance the units £1.5 million relocation to a remote site, the subject of two on-going applications with other East Anglian local authorities.

See more