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UK's biggest pig farm plan for Co Antrim sparks residents' outrage

By Sara Neill

Published 02/06/2015

A plan to build the UK's largest pig farm in Newtownabbey has been met with fury by residents angry at the smell and noise 30,000 animals would cause
A plan to build the UK's largest pig farm in Newtownabbey has been met with fury by residents angry at the smell and noise 30,000 animals would cause

A plan to build the UK's largest pig farm in Newtownabbey has been met with fury by residents angry at the smell and noise 30,000 animals would cause.

If it goes ahead the 23-acre pig farm on Reahill Road - less than a mile from the council's headquarters at Mossley Mill - will need a lagoon for animal waste.

More than 230 people have written to complain to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

Norman Kerr lives around 300 metres from the site and is unhappy at the plans, which include two anaerobic digester tanks, and two lagoons - one for water, and one for pig waste.

He said: "We're concerned that this is a flood risk.

"This development will be capable of holding three million gallons of fluid at any one time.

"But where does that all go? This road is on a hill, and it already floods with the rains.

"The farmer hasn't been able to tell us if we will be safe living near this site."

The animals would be fattened up in one of four pig sheds, before they are slaughtered.

Mr Kerr said: "The scale of this project is colossal, and 30,000 pigs have to make noise. This is not a farm. This is a factory. It's on an industrial scale. The skin and faeces from the pigs, has to come out of the site and we're the ones who will breathe it in. No-one can tell us what harm that's going to do."

The plans have been submitted by the owners of Halls Pig Farm on Old Carrick Road, and their existing farm is a few miles away.

They believe the on-site anaerobic digester will remove most of the smell, and are not concerned by noise, as the 10,000 pigs on their existing site cannot be heard past its boundary. Derek Hall said: "We've been working on these proposals for more than four years and have carried out extensive research into the latest technology designed not to pose any issue with odour, noise or to the environment and welfare of animals.

"We would then reduce the number of animals housed at our current farm by 85% and undertake refurbishment to dramatically reduce odour at this site.

"Our proposals and further details will shortly be available at nipigfarm.com."

DUP MLA Paul Girvan has met with objectors and the company behind the proposals.

He said: "Mr Hall sees the new development as an improvement in environmental terms for those living near the old site, and believes this state-of-the-art development will be the most advanced pig production plant in Ireland. This is a fairly large application, and we're going to have to consider that the community needs their concerns aired.

"This is not just a guy with a few pigs in the back of a farm. It's a large-scale production."

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