Pig farm development deferred by council

Protestors pictured outside Mossley Mill on February 18.
Protestors pictured outside Mossley Mill on February 18.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Planning Committee has deferred making a decision on plans to develop a pig farm in Ballyclare.

Elected representatives met at Mossley Mill on Monday to discuss a motion about the existing Calhame Road facility, but will now seek further information before reaching a decision.

The plans included the proposed demolition of existing pig farm (six units housing 4,200 finishing pigs) and replacement with three new pig units (to house 2,755 sows, 235 replacement breeders and five boars).

Speaking to the Times after the meeting, South Antrim Alliance MLA, John Blair, who voiced opposition to the project said: “I’m pleased the committee has decided to try to get additional information in relation to this application and other similar applications. I’m concerned that up-to-date environmental information does not always link properly with planning regulations which pre-date current information held on nitrate and ammonia levels. I hope to meet with the Permanent Secretary of DAERA to discuss information sharing between NIEA and planners at local level.”

Around 40 protestors gathered at Mossley Mill ahead of the meeting to express their opposition.

Welcoming the deferral, a spokesperson for Stop the Newtownabbey Pig Factories said: “We’re prepared to assist the planners and councillors to understand the consequences for our environment, our communities and the animals before reconsidering this application. An enormous thank you to Friends of the Earth and Stop the Limavady Pig Factory for all the information, statistics and support they provide.

“To Farms Not Factories who made a very informative video - Pig Business NI - which can be viewed online, we continue to owe an enormous debt of gratitude as they film the consequences of this cruel and inhumane industry. Last, but not least - all our wonderful supporters who came along to leave the council in no doubt of residents’ concerns if planning had been passed. A decision which would have adverse consequences for the environment, the many families, schools and businesses in this area.”