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Villagers accuse Liz Truss of playing down their concerns over mega farm

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Locals worried about plans to build one of the largest mega farms in Europe in a West Norfolk village have accused Liz Truss of playing down their concerns.The former prime minister and Tory candidate for South West Norfolk said she “would be very happy to live next to a pig farm” and condemned “animal extremists intimidating people” when asked about her views on the proposed chicken and pig facilities in the constituency.Food giant Cranswick wants to house 870,000 chickens and 14,000 pigs at the connected sites in Methwold and Feltwell.

Cranswick hopes to knock down the disused sheds and build 14 pig ‘finishing’ buildings at the site in Methwold. Picture: Owen Sennitt

But the plans have been met with a tide of objections from locals living in the surrounding villages and thousands of animal rights activists across the country.One concerned local, Philip Wagstaff who lives in Methwold, said: “It is the cheek of it. It will have a huge impact on us. People are extremely upset about this and feel let down. Would she really be happy to live next to this?”Ms Truss said she “gave an honest answer” to the question and that she is supportive of farming provided it “does not have a negative impact on local residents”. She said: ““I have raised residents’ concerns about the potential noise and pollution emanating from the proposed pig and poultry farm at Methwold with the Independent-led council.“I have been told by the council that they do not yet have a final proposal to go before the planning committee. When this proposal emerges I will continue to raise concerns residents have. I was asked a question about pig farms and gave an honest answer. “I am proud of Norfolk’s agriculture and believe food security is vital for our nation. I am supportive of farming provided it does not have a negative impact on local residents.”People in the surrounding villages are growing increasingly concerned about the plans.They worry about a big increase in HGV traffic, that pollution from the site could cause health issues and have an adverse impact on the environment. Cranswick says the twin schemes – which would create one of the biggest livestock farming sites in the country – will be a “sustainable, modern farm” that will help deliver affordable produce, create jobs and boost the local economy.James Bagge, a former Tory rebel who is standing as an Independent for South West Norfolk at the General Election, is supportive of the campaign against the site after learning about complaints from villagers living nearby another Cranswick farm in Stow Bedon.He said: “This is a major issue locally. It would be too big and I support the objections.”

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