Natural England is the statutory consultee on environmental issues relating to planning applications and their views are given considerable weight.
The reason NE has not objected as the RSPB has done is that NE is bound by new Government guidance on pig and poultry, which mean that they cannot take the (very high) ambient levels of nitrogen into account.
This seems quite ludicrous to me – how can these rules possibly make sense?
The RSPB however, is not bound by any such silly rules and have submitted an excellent and technically detailed objection, based on how the increased nitrogen levels will have an adverse impact on biodiversity on the surrounding heathland, which is subject to European legislation – the Habitats Directive.
The applicant claims that changing the pig feed will solve the nitrogen problem, however, it is clearly not possible for EDDC to monitor this.
I am now hoping that East Devon District Council will use as evidence the detailed and carefully considered objection from Gavin Bloomfield of the RSPB. We will have to wait and see.