Friday, January 28

Oise: a farmer on appeal for noise and odor nuisance

Vincent Verschuere, a 33-year-old farmer, is preparing to receive the appeal decision from the Amiens (Somme) court on January 4. He is judged for odor and noise pollution due to his activity as a dairy producer.

Vincent Verschuere has been in conflict for ten years with six residents of Saint-Aubin-en-Bray (Oise), near Beauvais, where he has set up his farm. They particularly denounce the extension of operations in 2010 to meet European standards. This new building had however been authorized by a building permit, as well as by a prefectural exemption.

The residents assured that the barn was too close to the houses and that they could no longer bear the mooing of cows, smells, and flies. The Beauvais court ruled in their favor in 2018 and ordered Vincent Verschuere to pay 102,000 euros in damages.

This January 4, the farmer hopes to obtain the favors of the court of Amiens, and “save the farm” (according to his page Facebook), threatened with closure due to a decade of legal battle. The farm in question is a family operation built four generations ago, with more than 80 cows and 180 cattle and calves.

A symbolic affair

The case of Vincent Verschuere has become symbolic. The young farmer received the support of around 200 people on December 30, during an organized march involving other breeders, departmental or regional advisers, and residents.

The case could also see a new turning point with the enactment of the Sensory Heritage Act in January 2021. It aims to “promote the sounds and smells of the French countryside” in order to “promote living together in rural areas,” the government’s website details. It was designed to defuse neighborhood conflicts like Vincent Verschuere’s, and could well work in his favor.

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