When Theory does not Match Common Sense. A typical Case Study of an Intensive Pig Farm in the UK

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pigs Small    Let's imagine a typical case study. A company wants to start an intensive pig Farm very close to a small village. This company proposes the operation of an intensive pig unit with the capacity for 2500 sow places and 14,000 places for rearing production pigs. This Intensive Unit will include an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant with subsequent biogas combustion  for the treatment of pig manures and slurries generated by the intensive farming activities, and mixed with imported maize and spoiled wheat straw.

   Although the facility will be surrounded predominantly by arable farmland, the site will be located on the edge of the village. The closest residential properties will be within 100 m of the proposed Installation boundary. A Prison with 300 inmates will be also within 250 m of the boundary.

   The following plan shows the location of the closest receptors (R1, R2 and R3) in relation to the proposed Installation.


case study farm odours

R1: Residential property  – located less than 100 m from installation boundary.
R2: Residential property - located less than 100 m from installation boundary.
R3: Prison - located less than 250 m from installation boundary.

  The pig unit will include 14 houses (4 dry sow houses, 2 farrowing houses, 2 growing houses and 6 finishing houses), all of which will have extraction units, supported by abatement, to reduce ammonia and odour.

   In this case study, the company will present several documentation, but the Public Environment Administration will request more information. The final documentation presented will be:

  1. Environmental Impact Assessment.
  2. Specific document about odour management.
  3. Generic documentation about a 3-phase abatement system comprising a water/acid scrubber and a biotrickling filter.
  4. Dispersion Modelling (Gaussian) that says that there won't be any odour impact once the plant is there (no exceedance of the 3ouE/m3 benchmark)

 On the one hand the Farm is very close to the receptors, but on the other the different studies shows that there won't be any odour impact with this project.

   Will this Environmental Administration grant a permit to this project?

   The answer is: NO.

   Check this very interesting 55 pages with plenty of arguments about why the UK Environment Agency decided to refuse the permit application for Foston Pig Unit and Anaerobic Digestion Plant applied for by Midland Pig Producers Limited.

   Check other documentation about this case study here.

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