Ulster Unionist Councillor Bert Wilson has hit out at the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) for their ‘scorched earth’ approach to farm planning applications.
Councillor Wilson said: “There have been a number of planning applications for new modern farm facilities to replace aging buildings during the past eighteen months that are being rejected or impractical requirements put in the way of the application that results with them not being possible to progress.
“Many of these are for new modern dairy units, most are not to increase the number of animals being kept on the farm, just to keep the same numbers, but they cannot be progressed due to NIEA not giving them approval or putting unworkable demands in the way.
“It would make much more practical sense to approve new modern facilities that assist the farmer, the environment, the economy and animal welfare rather than having the existing outdated structures in place.
“This is not giving any encouragement to young farmers, who are business people and need to take business orientated decisions that are assisting the environment and economy, but are being stymied by the process.
“I know one farmer who is milking approximately 100 cows.
“He wants to keep the same number of animals but requires new facilities, however he has been told that he can only build new facilities for 12 cows – what nonsense!”