A vet is reassuring Bisley and Oakridge residents that “lorries full of dead horses” will not be turning up at a nearby farm now that its equine incinerator has been approved.

Waterlane Equine Vets has been given the go ahead by planners to set up an incinerator at its headquarters, a farm on the outskirts of Oakridge, for the disposal of horse carcasses.

The plans for the incinerator, housed in an old barn, had garnered a large amount of attention from those living nearby, with over 200 members of the public submitting a comment.

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Photos: Simon Pizzey

Some residents who opposed the plan had formed a group, the Friends of Waterlane, and wrote a letter to express concern about air and noise pollution.

"FoW would like to be very clear that we are pro-farming and pro-small business," the residents wrote, before arguing the farm was "not a suitable location" for the incinerator given it would be next to "a well-used public bridleway and designated play area and residential premises."

Not all members of the public commented in opposition to the plans.

"As a local horse owner who has suffered the loss of a horse of the lifetime, I absolutely support the application," wrote one neighbour.

"When my horse was put to sleep there wasn't a local facility that offered cost-effective cremation. Instead my horse was transported to Tewkesbury and then onto to a larger facility near Cambridge."

In any case, one of the vets' directors, Dr Tim Watson, has sought to allay concerns after the plans were approved at the end of last month.

He said: “Approval for incinerators of this type is so highly tuned in terms of how they deal with the emissions that there’s simply no risk.

“The incinerator is about the size of a large car and in terms of noise it’s quieter than a washing machine running in a busy farm yard.

“And there’s not going to be lorries full of dead horses turning up. We'll be collecting horses using a specialised trailer that is completely sealed.”

Approval from the county council comes with its own strings attached - the vets are only allowed to burn 50kg per hour - a typical horse weighs around 500kg.

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