Farmer faces new warning over whiff

A FARMER has been warned he could be in contempt of court if he ignores an order banning him indefinitely from causing foul odours at his site.The notorious Woolpit Whiff has plagued residents of the village for decades, leading to claims their lives have been made a nightmare and the value of their homes has fallen.

A FARMER has been warned he could be in contempt of court if he ignores an order banning him indefinitely from causing foul odours at his site.

The notorious Woolpit Whiff has plagued residents of the village for decades, leading to claims their lives have been made a nightmare and the value of their homes has fallen.

Now local farmer John Clarke has been banned permanently from causing nuisance smells from his Suffolk farm.

Yesterday's Court of Appeal ruling comes at the end of a long line of legal battles between Mr Clarke and Mid Suffolk District Council.


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The court sided with the council's claims that Mr Clarke should be banned from causing nuisance smells at Rookery Farm, Drinkstone, indefinitely and not that the prohibition should expire in 2007, as previously ordered.

Council leader Tim Passmore last night welcomed the decision and stressed the importance of finding a suitable solution to the long-standing problem.

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He said: “Farming is at the heart of mid-Suffolk life and the countryside is full of its sights and smells. “Residents accept this - it is all part of living here. What the residents at Woolpit have suffered, however, is unacceptable and we have had no hesitation in pursuing the case.

“This judgment is a milestone and we look forward to an outcome where all parties can comfortably co-exist.”

The council agreed to represent local residents after receiving calls claiming that Mr Clarke's farm had caused a nuisance by the smell of rendering avian waste.

An injunction was initially gained preventing Mr Clarke using the current site for industrial rendering and the decision from the Court of Appeal now means the farmer will be in contempt of court if he breaks the conditions.

The farmer last night told the EADT: “We will work within the parameters of the law - and we certainly have no intention of breaking the law.”

The legal fight - one of many Mr Clarke has faced in recent years - began in the 1990s when residents helped gather evidence to take to court.

A trial in 1999 was bought to a halt when Mr Clarke gave a voluntary undertaking to the court not to create further nuisance.

However, complaints continued and in April 2005, the council made a committal application, saying that Mr Clarke was in contempt for breaching his undertaking.

Last week, the High Court granted an injunction preventing Mr Clarke from continuing to use his premises for industrial rendering. But the judgement - due to come into force on May 9 - is expected to be challenged by Mr Clarke.

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