A farmer from Oise sentenced on appeal in March to pay more than €100,000 in damages to local residents complaining about the noise and smell of his cows filed an appeal on Thursday, October 13, a-t he announced to AFP.
At the heart of a legal battle for more than ten years, a shed that Vincent Verschuere, a 33-year-old cattle breeder, had built in 2010 on his farm located in the center of the village of Saint-Aubin-en-Bray. The breeder invested €600,000 to build this 2,800 m hangar2, including a stable. For this, he obtained a prefectural derogation, the first inhabitants being less than 100 meters away.
But local residents complaining of olfactory and noise pollution took the case to court and obtained the cancellation of its building permit in 2013, then in 2018 its conviction for “abnormal neighborhood disturbances”. In March, the Amiens Court of Appeal upheld the sentence handed down by the Beauvais court, acknowledging the olfactory and noise pollution of the building.
“This decision did not take into account the new law aimed at defining and protecting the sensory heritage of the French countryside, promulgated on January 29, 2022”, argues the breeder’s lawyer, Timothée Dufour, who intends to rely on this law in cassation. The lawyer also believes that“there was not enough contradictory expertise, because the difficulty of this file is its subjective aspect: when can we say that a smell is harmful or not? ».
The procedure is scrutinized by the agricultural world, which fears that the decisions will set a precedent in conflicts between local residents and farmers. “We must do everything so that there is no Verschuere case law, that’s why I want to fight until the end”explains the breeder. “In the Oise, one out of two farms has obtained a distance exemption to build near homes, they are all potentially threatened by lawsuits from local residents who do not like the smell or noise of our animals, often newcomers. -rural »he adds.
Vincent Verschuere ensures that the damages have been paid to the complaining residents, “€106,000 in total”. For this, he took out a seven-year bank loan and benefited from aid of €40,000 from the Hauts-de-France region, without which he would have had to ” put the key under the door “.
The breeder has until November 30 to propose technical solutions for the insulation of his shed to the Beauvais court. His lawyer will request the suspension of this work obligation.