The price of industrial farming

ELF has received three more new enquiries in the last month regarding farming intensification impacts. Concerns about the impacts of industrial farming appear to be growing.

As we reported previously, ELF has been assisting a community in Devon afflicted by an industrial sized dairy unit, with a herd of 1,000 cows, unregulated development predominating. There are many environmental impacts associated with these matters that have not been dealt with, the local authority seemingly powerless to grapple with the problem. With numerous retrospective applications, prosecutions by the Environment Agency, repeated failures to comply with planning conditions, the final straw came in January 2012 (over the Christmas break) when the owner built an earth banked 7 million gallon capacity slurry lagoon without planning permission. This remains an outstanding issue, not yet decided by the local authority despite years of activity by local residents to stir them to action.

The community has set up a campaign Too Much Slurry in the hope that other communities similarly and increasingly affected, can have a central hub of information and access to assistance. Too often separate communities fight these matters alone, without knowing of those who have already fought these battles with experience of what works and what doesn’t. ELF is pleased to be working with these communities and we are developing plans to do more.

ELF is also organising a farming conference to take place in Exeter in 2018, more details available soon. With partners from Larcomes, an ELF member firm, and Exeter University, we plan to draw on the experience of communities, regulators and farmers to identify steps to address the damaging impacts from industrial farming methods.

Photo: toomuchslurry