A charity has raised concerns about pollution and animal welfare amid plans for a pig farm in West Berkshire.

The Berkshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has written to West Berkshire Council to object to plans for ‘factory farming’ of pigs at Foxglove Farm, Great Common, Inkpen.

On Friday, August 11, West Berkshire Council recieved an application to create an intensive pig farm at the farm, which sits within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Should the plans go ahead, the charity fears that a host of environmental issues will unforld.

CPRE Berkshire states that despite their support for the farming community in West Berkshire, their are “significant concerns” about this application on grounds of scale, intensity and environmental impact.

Their first major concern is soil and water pollution of agricultural land.

"The proposed new development poses major pollution risks to soil and water quality in this environmentally sensitive location," they said.

Their second concern is regards intensive pig farming invariably produceing ammonia and nitrates which are then deposited on the land.

"These do not just reduce soil quality but also have a harmful effect on wildlife habitats, and in this case would create significant issues for the North Wessex Downs AONB, a protected landscape, and for local flora and fauna in the vicinity of the farm," they continued.

Lastely CPRE have said that intensive indoor pig farming, also known as "factory farming" is a "serious" animal welfare issue, both locally and nationally.

"The welfare of farm animals in West Berkshire should be a much higher priority for the council, both for the sake of the animals themselves and for the quality of meat produced."

CPRE is now calling for “comprehensive environmental and animal welfare assessments” at the farm.

Trustees of the charity say that the Environment Agency must address the effect of so many animals being in confined conditions, arguing that “this application cannot be assessed in isolation, without taking into account the cumulative effect of this process.”

The group adds that the Environment Agency also needs to “take account of the proximity of residential dwellings, and  Parish Council objections.”

To find out more about this planning application, visit West Berkshire Council’s planning portal with reference 23/01874/COND