Environmental Damage

It takes seconds to ruin and decades to restore
Parkham Farms has caused a great deal of damage over the years to the environment. The method of farming and the size of the herds is mostly to blame but the situation is made considerably worse by a lack of care. The attitude appears to be; "if one can get away with it then its ok". That it why it important to Stop It. Whatever the safeguards they will never be sufficient to protect against this kind of an attitude. The following pictures tell their own story. There are many more pictures and stories from the residents of Hartland.

An image taken from Google Earth showing that dumping at the head of the stream that flows into National Trust woodland had being going on since 2005!

Another image taken in 2010 when the Environment Agency became involved.

This is a field spread with slurry, with a ditch dug to drain any run-off direct into a stream at Brownsham in Hartland, Devon.

This was reported to the Environment Agency in 2013... just two years after the conviction in 2011 at the same farm; Beckland !

This is a large unauthorised water resevior built without planning permission in 2011 in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). There is a retrospective application (1/0084/2012/FUL) still awaiting a decision.

In the meantime, it was noticed by a local resident in 2014 that it was being filled by drawing water from a local stream. This was reported to the Environment Agency who instructed them to stop.

On Saturday 6th Dec 2014, I walked up through Beckland Farm and along the coastal path with my dog. I followed the signposted right-of-way from the National Trust's Beckland Woods. This is the very same route I took when I found all the rubbish tipped at the head of the stream a few years ago. I have not been back since then. This time I found a dead sheep that obviously been there for several days. Also, the field was plastered in slurry. It had been drilled in but the volume of slurry was enormous. These fields slope steeply down to the stream so it will have inevitably been polluted by run-off when it rained, which it did later that day. The right-of-way was not easy to negotiate as I was not wearing wellies. The smell pursued me all the way along the coastal path whenever the wind was from the east. Not a pleasant experience and not one that visitors to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would expect. It has been reported to the Environment Agency.

Spreading of slurry in these volumes is unacceptable and is also contrary to DEFRA's guidlines.

DEFRA's Code of Good Agricultural Practice

In subsection 5.4 it states that: Livestock manures should not be applied when:
  • the soil is waterlogged; or
  • heavy rain is forecast within the next 48 hours.
Livestock manures and dirty water should not be spread:
  • within 10 metres of any ditch, pond or surface water; or
  • on very steep slopes where run-off is a high risk throughout the year

So in just one field every single one of these guidelines have been ignored! These guidlines are largely common sense to anyone who has a concern for the environment. In this case, due to the topography and the weather, pollution of the stream was enevitable. So what to do with the slurry? Well interestingly, the unauthorised slurry lagoon was nearly empty! It is a measure of the bad management of this farm and the fact that there are far too many cows.

To find a dead sheep in a field with a right-of-way which had recently been plastered with slurry on a random visit suggests to me that Parkham Farms are not fit and proper suppliers of food to the public or any business that has any meaningful standards.

A final point. It is illegal to obstruct a public right of way. The spreading of slurry can be classed as an obstruction and the Council can take formal action to have this stopped. Unfortunately, they have more pressing issues to deal with when it comes to Parkham Farms.