Log in | Register

Ammonia pollution poses pig farm development problems in NI

Words: Roger Milne
Farming / iStock-658588310

Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has confirmed to The Planner that it is considering a moratorium on new intensive pig and poultry farms above a certain size in a bid to limit ammonia emissions.

The department is currently preparing a draft action plan.

In a statement it said: “Such a moratorium is a potential means of restricting ammonia emissions across Northern Ireland, however, there has been no decision yet made to include this proposal in the plan which will be subject to a public consultation."

Meanwhile, the Department for Infrastructure (DFI) has also confirmed that the Irish Republic has raised the issue of cross-border ammonia pollution from several Northern Irish pig farm proposals. This includes one at Limavady involving plans for four pig-breeding units designed to house a total of 2247 sows currently under consideration by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

A Department for Infrastructure (DfI) spokesperson said: “The DfI received a query from the Department for Planning, Housing and Local Government [DHPLG] in the Republic of Ireland regarding a number of applications for planning permission in Northern Ireland relating to developments for intensive pig and poultry farming.  

“Each of the applications are being dealt with by the relevant district council in their role as local planning authorities. The department has requested information from each of these councils relating to the query and alerted DHPLG to this. When all the responses have been received, the department will review the information and respond appropriately to DHPLG.”

Emissions of ammonia from intensive farming is a problem for both administrations.

The borough council told The Planner it was considering whether the Irish Republic should be formally notified of the ammonia impact of the pig farm because of its potential trans-boundary effects.

Image credit | iStock