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Concern over chicken shed volume

Created on 13/09/2018 @ 10:49
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

The number of chicken sheds being built across Powys is causing alarm for a rural charity.

Montgomeryshire Campaign for for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) believes that the number of units in Powys has grown almost six times in the last 10 years with Powys home to an estimated 7,000,0000 (seven million) chickens.

Today (Thursday), two more planning applications for units near Meifod and Llanwyddelan (near New Mills) will be discussed by the Powys County Council Planning Committee with officers recommending approval.

Powys County Council has said that from April 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018, there had been 108 of this type of planning application. 105 had been passed and only three refused.

CPRW Montgomeryshire is now urging planners to look very closely at environmental impact when reviewing these plans rather than being swayed by short-term gains.

The charity also believes that the greater availability of cheaper eggs and chicken meat could crash, leaving farmers who do diversify in a precarious financial position. They also believe that there are unwanted products created by these units.

Brian Drew, of Montgomeryshire CPRW, said: “Chickens produce a lot of manure which is spread on farmland.

“This creates airborne ammonia and extra nitrogen in our soils, vegetation and water. Residents near these developments are constantly complaining about bad smells, vermin, polluted rivers and the industrialisation of precious landscapes.

“But despite all these complaints and disadvantages more chicken sheds are being approved and most polluted areas are unprotected.”

These concerns include the amount of water being drawn by the units as well the water being polluted and rural roads being used by more heavy goods vehicles.

Mr Drew added: “Action is needed to protect people and wildlife from ammonia. It is the only polluting gas that is on the increase and excess ammonia can turn lichens, an indicator of clean air, into sickly algal slime – not a happy prospect.

“Powys is praised for its spectacular scenery peace and quiet beloved by both residents and tourists, and wonderful clean air.”

Farming Unions FUW and NFU Cymru were both contacted on the issue but declined to comment.

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