A packed public meeting on Monday night saw villagers rally to discuss ‘foul’ odours coming from a pig farm in Funtington.
Residents were queuing out the door for the open meeting at Funtington Village Hall over issues with smells, flies and farm traffic coming from Basil Baird’s farm.
Responding to concerns at the meeting were Nick Baird, Basil Baird’s son, who attended as landowner, and representatives from the companies that run the farm and anerobic digester on site.
All three adamantly refuted suggestions that any illegal activity was occuring at the farm and emphasised that all of the 12,000 pigs either breeding or raised for slaughter were kept in a high standard of welfare.
But there were murmurs of exasperation and laughter when the room was told the farm company was not sure where the smell was coming from.
Tom Allen, from Ash Farming, said: “The reason we’re here is we really do want to engage with the community.
“The problem we’ve had at the moment is no one can actually test where this odour is coming from.
“You may laugh. We’re actually looking to try and reduce that problem, we don’t want to be a burden on anybody, life’s too short for that.”
He said the council was looking into finding equipment to measure odours but encouraged villagers to contact environmental health with reports.
He added that reports at the meeting of ‘disgusting’ flies in residents’ kitchens and traffic issues with tractors travelling through the village were the first time he had heard of such issues.
The meeting heard there had been multiple delays setting up the anaerobic digester that meant piles of manure could not be processed as planned for several months.
Nick Baird said the digester was now fully operational but apologised to everyone affected.
Jono Oswin, who chaired the meeting, said more needed to be done.
He called on those present to sign a petition to the council to take action, record instances of foul odours and fundraise towards an independant smell assessment.