14,000 sign petition opposing Northern Ireland pig farm plan
Outraged residents last night voiced their opposition to proposals for a massive new pig farm in Limavady.
If approved by the council's planning committee, it is reported the planned farm off the Moys Road would have five pig houses which would hold 13,000 animals. The operation would also produce around 20,000 tonnes of slurry a year to be spread across 1,300 acres of surrounding farmland.
Causeway Coast and Glens council confirmed they have received over 3,000 letters of objection along with five petitions with a total of nearly 14,000 signatures.
The first of two public meetings to oppose the plans was held in Ballykelly last night, with a second event to be held in Greysteel this evening.
Diane Greer from the Stop the Limavady Pig Factory group said she believed the farm would bring serious animal welfare and environmental problems.
"This isn't just about the pig farm," she said.
"It's about the distance they're going to spread the slurry, from Magilligan to as far as Derry.
"And for the sheer number of pigs involved it would be a massive disease control operation and would only bring a few jobs."
She added: "We're pulling them up on their processes.
"We're saying they have done an environmental impact assessment on the pig farm itself, not on the ground where they are spreading the slurry."
So far the farmer in charge, Thomas Simpson, has declined to comment publicly on the plans.
The next council planning meeting is due on August 23.
Mr Simpson has been asked to provide details on odour, noise and ammonia levels at the meeting.
The PCM Group, a company which negotiates with processors for 32 pig farmers, has publicly backed the application.
Spokesman Hugh McReynolds told the BBC the farm would be a "high welfare site".
He also explained there would be a lower use of antibiotics and vaccines used on the animals as pigs would be moved off the farm to be fattened after reaching a certain weight.