15,000-pig development approved in Northern Ireland

The go-ahead has been given for a 15,000-pig development in Northern Ireland, ending months of high profile opposition to the project.

The farmer concerned, Derek Hall, had originally wanted to build a unit for 30,000 pigs near Newtownabbey but revised the plan to half that size, an adjustment which has now gained planning permission from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Planning Committee. Nine councillors voted in favour and two opposed the development.

Residents had objected to the project saying it would produce too much slurry and smell, while 200,000 signed an online petition against the development.

Celebrities, including Queen guitarist and animal welfare campaigner, Brian May, and actors Martin Shaw and Jenny Seagrove, also opposed the unit.

Ulster Unionist councillor, Roderick Swann, backed the proposal, however, commenting: “I’m a farmer myself who supports the agri-industry and I was quite satisfied that all the necessary welfare issues were addressed.

“The planning case officer and all the consultees were quite happy with everything that was proposed.”

Asked if he understood the strong opposition both from locals and those not so local Mr Swann (pictured above) said: “I can and I can’t. There was an awful lot of ‘not in my back yard’, with lots of emails flying through.

“But these people are all farm quality assured, the pigs are well looked after. To get a quality assurance accreditation is very tight.”

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