Campaign Against Hermon Slurry Lagoon – Update

A decision is expected at the end of November on the controversial planning application for a 4 million gallon slurry lagoon on a farm in Hermon, Pembrokeshire, within the Intensive Action Area. Local people have been campaigning against the lagoon on environmental and health grounds and have raised serious concerns about planning process and procedures. Given the potential of slurry as a transmission route for bovine tb, an application for a lagoon on this massive scale in this ‘hotspot’ should receive rigorous scrutiny.  However, the latest press release from the campaign group says there has been a lack of thorough examination by Pembrokeshire County Council.

Stop The Slurry Lagoon Press Release  – 19/10/2011

Community campaign group uncovers worrying practices within Pembrokeshire County Council.

The Stop the Slurry Lagoon campaign group in Hermon North Pembrokeshire has over 15 dedicated volunteers working to ensure a fair hearing for their concerns regarding the proposed 2 acre slurry lagoon on high ground overlooking the village and the Taf River. In April 2011 the campaign ensured that the planning process was put on hold until the council planning department had further looked into the threats that would be caused by the proposed large development. It has now come to light that there are a number of worrying practices within the County Council and a lack of thorough examination of planning proposals that have environmental & health impacts. The campaign group have had a response from the County Council Monitoring officer – Laurence Harding – admitting that there have been errors in handling the planning applications. The community campaigners have now asked the Leader and Chief Executive to answer the following questions:

 a)      At what point does a sequence of administrative errors, (oversights, misinformation, failure to provide information, complacency and professional incompetence), such as  the numerous examples we have experienced and described in various correspondence, become symptomatic of systemic and cultural weaknesses in an organisation?  b)      How is it that all the ‘administrative errors’ we have referred to favour the applicant? Some of our campaign group feel that the LPA is ‘bending over backwards’ to help the applicant.
c)      Does it concern you that the shortcomings we have identified would result in members of the Planning Committee being misinformed and result in unsound decision making?
d)     Are you satisfied that County Councillors on the Planning & Rights of Way Committee have the experience and expertise to question and scrutinise officers’ judgements as they are presented to them, and what evidence do you have that this occurs?

We would like the Councillors to feel fully informed so that they can fulfil their duties with a clear conscience. Copies of the correspondences have been sent to Alan Morris at the Wales Audit Office who is responsible for scoping and carrying out the investigation into PCC as a result of the Estyn report on children’s services. The campaigners are now asking any other community groups or individuals to flag up other similar occurrences that they have encountered to show systematic and cultural weakness that exists within the authority. Further details and contact information regarding the community campaign group can be found on http://www.slurrycampaign.org.uk/. To sign the on line petition people are asked to visit www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/slurrycampaign

For reference – see attached letters to and from Laurence Harding Pembrokeshire County Council.

Slurry Campaign Contacts:
Chair – Len Davies: 01239 832074
Media – Cris Tomos – 07974 099738

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