Wednesday 20 January 2021
Green Party NI leader Clare Bailey MLA has said that planning approval for two major pig factories in the Greater Newtownabbey area is an affront to public health and demonstrates failures inherent in our planning system.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Planning Committee passed applications for two major pig factories with over 80,000 pigs on Monday 18 January, despite opposition from local resident's groups.
Clare Bailey MLA said: “Livestock mega farms present real risks to public health and our environment.
“If you live close to a mega farm you are at risk of exposure to ammonia concentrations that are forty times greater than the average, resulting in headaches, nausea, diarrhoea, cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, cognitive decline, higher death rates and lower birth rates.
“Local residents mounted a campaign against approval for these piggeries, but their well-founded health concerns have been dismissed by Councillors in support of the project and thrown out by a planning system that lets communities down. It’s clear that the planning system and long-standing government policies have incentivised and promoted intensive farming practices and failed to address the resultant toxic ammonia emission.
“There has been a marked lack of transparency and accountability around the planning process for these piggeries. For example, local campaigners submitted a Freedom of Information request around the slurry management plan for the tens of thousands of pigs moving through these farms. Antrim and Newtownabbey Council responded by saying that they did not hold information on that matter, which is deeply concerning. Clearly, slurry from tens of thousands of pigs must go somewhere and it’s unacceptable that the local council doesn’t know where that mountain of slurry will end up.”
Clare Bailey MLA concluded: “Late last year, I submitted an Assembly motion calling for a moratorium on planning approvals. The motion was wholly aimed at halting intensive farming practices like this until such a time as the planning process could demonstrate compliance with EU Directives. The DUP, SF, UUP, SDLP and Alliance failed to support my motion.
“Government policies on animal farming have prioritised scale over sustainability for many years now. Communities are paying the price with their health and well-being as a result.”
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498