Limavady pig farm: Thousands oppose plans

Farm poster
Image caption Dozens of Limavady residents attended a meeting on Wednesday night to discuss their concerns

Campaigners opposed to plans for a controversial pig farm outside Limavady have met to voice their concerns.

More than 2,000 pigs would be bred at the farm on the Moys Road and slurry spread on nearby land.

Thousands of people have objected claiming it would impact on their health and the environment.

However, an environmental statement said that the scale of the proposed development would have "no adverse impact" on either.

The BBC has tried to contact the farmer behind the plans, Thomas Simpson, but has not yet had a response.

'Concerns'

Causeway Coast and Glens Council confirmed it has received more than 3,000 letters of objections.

"Over 3,000 letters of objection, five petitions with a total of almost 14,000 signatures and two letters of support have been received," said a council spokesperson.

"Once all consultations have been returned the application will be considered further - taking account of all material planning issues raised through letters and petitions of representation."

Thousands of objectors have also signed an online petition claiming the proposed farm would cause pollution and noise and affect traffic and rivers.

In February, the Public Health Agency and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency wrote to the council's planning department expressing their concerns.

"Our main concern remains the potential for bioaerosol releases from pig rearing activities and the associated anaerobic digester plant," said Gerry Waldron from the PHA.

A number of other government agencies - including NIEA, Shared Environment Services and Transport NI - also had concerns.

However, last month an environmental statement from an independent company concluded that the scale of the proposed development would have "no adverse impact" on people's health or the environment.

The report also stated that 500 more pigs would be included in the plans, bringing the total figure to more than 2,700.

It also stated that an anaerobic digester would no longer be needed and that slurry would be spread in local fields.

The council has said it is still considering the application.

'Disaster waiting to happen'

Dozens of Limavady residents attended a meeting on Wednesday night to discuss their concerns.

Marcus Moore, chairman of Roe Angling Limited, said: "This is a disaster waiting to happen. I don't think the destruction of the environment is worth six jobs."

Former Justice Minister and Independent MLA Claire Sugden said further clarification was needed.

"We need to be sure that it isn't going to have a detrimental impact on the environment," she said.

However, the DUP's Adrian McQuillan said that the proposal would be good for the local economy and create a lot of jobs in the area.

The Ulster Farmers' Union said it did not discuss or comment on the development or proposed expansion plans of any farm business.

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