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‘Careless farming’ claims after dust spreads in West Norfolk village

A resident in Clenchwarton has claimed “careless” farming practices could cause health issues in the village.

David Setchell, of Station Road, said dust was spread by a tractor across a field close to the back of his home a couple of weeks ago, which he claims caused his dog to be sick.

Mr Setchell said he believes the dust had to travel more than 90 feet, between his home and the boundary with the farm, to reach his property.

Dust on a field in Clenchwarton
Dust on a field in Clenchwarton

He spoke to the tractor driver and was told that the dust was lime, which Mr Setchell said is corrosive and carcinogenic.

Mr Setchell said: “I have lived here for 17 years and we have never had this before. We are not complaining newbies, in other words.

“But I am genuinely concerned for my pond fish, my dogs, my garden, my cars but most of all our health.

“I am just after assurance that this won’t happen again.”

Mr Setchell said since the incident, which happened almost two weeks ago, he has attempted to raise the issue with council officials, North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham and the farmer himself.

“I just want to be assured by the farmer that more care will be taken in future regarding proximity to households, wind direction etc,” he added.

“I don’t want to be showered in pesticide or herbicide, next time.”

A spokesman for the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said complaints like this are rare.

He said: “We’re sorry to hear about this incident. Agricultural lime is a soil additive made from pulverised limestone or chalk.

“It’s an extremely useful tool for improving soil health and assisting crop growth but it will only be applied after farmers have tested the pH level of the soil to see what nutrients are lacking.

“Farmers will often use specialist contractors to apply lime, who should ensure the spreader is calibrated to ensure an even and well-directed spread.

“They should also take wind speed and wind direction into account.

“Under the NFU’s Good Neighbour Initiative, farmers are encouraged to notify local residents before applying crop protection products near residential areas, to help build good relationships with neighbours.

“The same principle applies when spreading lime.”

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