The Angling Trust report the farmer is renowned for spreading vast quantities of slurry on his land and neighbouring fields and the Bashall Brook, which flows into the River Ribble nearby, is already almost devoid of fish below the farm as a direct result. The slurry is so spread so thickly that it is visible from space on Google Earth.
In his application for the expansion, the farmer has claimed that the new facility will not affect protected or priority species, or designated sites important to habitats or other biodiversity features. Several of the species in the River Ribble are priority conservation species and his farm practices are known to cause pollution which damages the ecology of the river system.
The River Ribble is a prime coarse and game fishing river with barbel, salmon and sea trout. One of the main problems with the river is pollution from farms which poisons fish and the invertebrates on which they feed. When slurry enters the water bacteria break it down very rapidly and in the process remove the oxygen from the water which is essential to support aquatic life. Thousands of anglers fish the river, often travelling from all over the country and supporting local businesses.
The Angling Trust is supporting its members the Hodder Consultative and the Ribble Fisheries Consultative Association who have written to the Council raising their concerns.
John Whitham, Secretary of the Ribble Fisheries Consultative Association said:
“Expanding this farm’s operation is the last thing that the Council should be thinking. It is notorious as a hotspot for pollution and if the farmer doesn’t clean up his act the farm should be closed down rather than expanded.”
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said:
“Any farm causing pollution on this scale should be forced to clean up, or shut up shop. The Angling Trust has written to the Council to object to this planning application. We will draw to their attention the importance of fishing to their constituents and its value to the local economy which far outweigh the economic benefit of one intensive, badly managed farm.”