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Inkpen pig farm “polluting local watercourse,” warns BBOWT

EFFLUENT from a pig farm is polluting local waterways, planners have been told.

The alarm was raised by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) which claimed the “pollution could harm the reason for designation as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest)”.

At the centre of the controversy is a new, steel framed structure housing up to 900 pigs at Foxglove Farm, Great Common, Inkpen.

Outline planning permission was granted subject to conditions which sought to prevent runoff from the site.

But the structure was built without complying – and so the owners have submitted an application seeking to vary the condition to restrospectively accommodate the design.

Inkpen Parish Council objected and asked for a risk assessment “in case of overflow, flooding and management of wastewater that could affect the Inkpen Common, which is a biological SSSI in the event that there is an increase in livestock”.

West Woodhay Parish Meeting also objected, stating: “Up to 900 pigs are fattened in one of the buildings causing serious waste, smell, noise and light pollution; the drainage runs into the ditch which runs into the Inkpen Common SSSI.”

There were also eight formal letters of objection from nearby residents.

Meanwhile BBOWT stated: “No development should have taken place until details to manage surface water had been approved.

“The site is adjacent to a SSSI and BBWOT reserve.

“[We] have received reports of pollution including pig faeces in a stream/ditch running from the site, which feeds the mire and pond on the SSSI and could cause damage through excessive nutrient enrichments.”

One resident wrote: “The potential for even more livestock in the barn related to this application would render the use of the bridlepath unbearable due to the stench and screaming.”

West Woodhay resident Robert MacDonald stated: “It is unacceptable that environmental health and Thames Water have made no comment on the application.

“Have they visited the site?

“Are they aware of the rearing of up to 900 pigs and the waste draining into a SSSI which itself drains into the watercourse and ultimately into the Rivers Kennet and Thames?”

A planning officer’s report stated: “The planning permission was subject to a condition requiring the submission and approval of the sustainable drainage measures before development commenced...the condition was not complied with.

“The applicants have been given the opportunity to address the consultation response...however, no additional information has been submitted...part of the reason the condition was imposed was to protect water quality and habitat.”

The application to retrospectively amend the drainage condition to make the development compliant was rejected.

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