Council takes action over pig farm smell

Baluss Farm, near Mintlaw
Baluss Farm, near Mintlaw

Council officials have taken enforcement action following complaints about pig smell from an Aberdeenshire farm.

Neighbours of Alexander Howie kicked up a stink about the odour coming from slurry at Baluss Farm, on the outskirts of Mintlaw.

The council have confirmed they have served Mr Howie with an abatement notice and he has four months in which to comply.

Head of protective services and waste management Ian Robertson said: “We will continue to work with the operator in any way we can whilst at the same time keeping the local community appraised of developments.

“Throughout the process the operator has been understanding and co-operative and I am hopeful that this approach will continue until we resolve a “situation which has clearly affected local residents.”

The farm received planning consent for three pig rearing buildings and an associated slurry storage tank in 2011.

Environmental health officials did not object to the application on the understanding the storage tank would have a roof to avoid odour nuisance.

The tank was built without the cover and since spring 2013, complaints have been made about the pig slurry smell.

Throughout last year officers worked with Mr Howie to identify a suitable method of dealing with the problem.

During this time, the council also worked with colleagues at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the farmer’s own consultant.

Action was taken to reduce the smell, but after a short time it became apparent there was still a problem.

Despite further steps to reduce the odour, complaints were still received on a regular basis and environmental health officers visited the area to see for themselves.

At the end of last month, Mr Howie spread a large quantity of the slurry on his fields, which run adjacent to the farm and the village.

The slurry was not ploughed in and the smell got worse.Under the terms of the notice the slurry has to be ploughed in and a roof or cover installed over the slurry tank.