Concern over pigs plan for Powderham
RESIDENTS have raised concerns about the proposals which could see 8,000 pigs living in the grounds of Devon stately home Powderham Castle.
No formal planning application has been made but Teignbridge District Council has confirmed it has received an Environmental Impact Assessment for an 8,000-capacity pig finishing unit for JMW Farms, based in County Armargh, Northern Ireland.
The council now has to provide the applicant JMW Farms of Northern Ireland, with the expected documents that should make up an EIA.
Local councillor Alan Connett said: "There is a high level of anxiety about this, with concerns about the road network, smells and noise.
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"There is no planning application yet, so I am urging people to hold their protests and opposition until there is one. Objections now won't count."
Among those leading the opposition to the piggery is Kenton artist Dr Jo Bowen.
She said: "This is on the Powderham Estate and we are shocked that an estate which prides itself on weddings, the good life and selling local produce in its farm shop should want to introduce such a blight into the area.
"We and our fellow residents can see no net gain for the area, and a huge potential loss caused by the pollution and infrastructure burdens such a unit will bring.
"Many feel traditional farming and tourism in the area is bound to be adversely affected, as well as residents' lives.
"The feeling is running extremely high in the area and we expect a huge number of objections to the planning application once made."
The proposed factory would take weaners and fatten them, sending them to Taunton for slaughter.
Dr Bowen said: "The proposal is for 8,000 pigs at a time, with a turnaround every three months. This means 32,000 pigs per year will be shipped into and out of the area every year.
"Constant road haulage of the animals and their feeds will result in substantial extra traffic on an already overstretched local road network.
"Of even greater concern is the pollution, smell and noise which will affect the whole area. Huge quantities of extremely smelly pig slurry are stored on site for long periods, before being sprayed on local fields.
"Dried pig slurry sprayed on very sandy hilly soil locally will have implication for flies, disease control and possible water contamination. There is still massive scientific controversy concerning these intensive practices, not to mention the ethical concerns.
"We think this would be a first for this area, if the application is made and is successful. We are sure that people in Exeter and more widely in Devon will feel extremely strongly that placing this sort of concern in a sensitive greenfield location is entirely unjustified and runs entirely counter to the character and values of this area."