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Environment Agency grants permit for proposed Foston pig development

21st Dec 2016 / By Alistair Driver

Midland Pig Producers is considering its options, after the Environment Agency granted the company a permit for a proposed largescale pig farm at Foston, in Derbyshire.

pigs002The Environment Agency dealt a significant blow to the company’s plans to install 14 pig houses holding up to 24,500 pigs, including 2,500 sows, when it refused an environmental permit in February 2015. The decision prompted MPP to withdraw its planning application.

But in the past few days, after MPP submitted further evidence, the agency reversed its decision and finally granted the permit.

MPP stressed it is still a long away from getting the green light for the unit. It will now take some time to consider whether to put in a new planning application and, if so, to what extent the application would differ from the original plans.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We are delighted that the permit has now been awarded.

“We said that we would consider our options when we had the planning permit and that is exactly what we will do. The world has moved on since the original planning application and we need to look at how, in the current market, we wish to move forward.”

Change of heart

The Environment Agency rejected the permit application last February because it was ‘not satisfied that the activities could be undertaken without resulting in significant pollution of the environment due to odour’.

However, new information submitted by MPP prompted a change of heart.

The Environment Agency said in a statement: "Midland Pig Producers have not yet got the green light; they have yet to secure planning permission which could take several more years."

Environment Agency area manager Lisa Pinney said: "The permit decision process is based on evidence and businesses are required to prove they can operate without causing an unacceptable environmental impact.

"Midland Pig Producers Limited gave additional information to ourselves and the Planning Inspector that demonstrated they would be able to meet the conditions of a permit for their planned activities.

"We take our role as a regulator very seriously and will now work with the company to make sure they comply with the strict terms of their permit."

More information on the Environment Agency's decision can be seen here

Long road 

It has been a long road even to get to this point. MPP submitted its original application for the pig unit and an anaerobic digestion plant on land adjacent to Foston Prison in March 2011.

Following a number of requests from the Environment Agency for further information, the company submitted its final revised application in October 2014.

The application has been subject to a high profile campaign to stop it going ahead, with organisations like the Soil Association and Compassion in World Farming to the fore. More than 42,000 people objected to the proposal, according to reports.

NPA policy services manager Lizzie Wilson welcomed the decision. “This is a very important step in the right direction. We are pleased the Environment Agency has changed its stance on odour from the proposed unit. There is still a long way to go, however.”