speak out over 'unbearable smells' at Huntspill chicken farm
living near a controversial chicken farm in East Huntspill have
stepped up their calls for action to halt problems with 'unbearable'
first reported here,
residents living near Newbridge Farm in New Road, East Huntspill,
say the pungent smells coming from the site have worsened over the
are awaiting a decision by Sedgemoor District Council on whether
the farm's owners have breached planning rules.
Bennett, who lives just 200 metres from the farm, says: "I
have a log cabin for holidaymakers but because I can't guarantee
that the smell won't be there I have lost several bookings."
Pugh, who lives downwind of the farm about half a mile away, says:
"The smells from the farm often get funnelled in our direction.
They are so bad that it gets into the back of your throat. Several
times last summer we couldn't have a barbecue because of it - it
was so unbearable that you couldn't sit outside in the smell."
Stanbury, who lives near the farm, says she is "concerned"
for the health of her young child given the "terrible smells"
coming from the site.
Tony Monaghan added: "It's not just the smells that concern
us - the building is out of keeping here and has the appearance
of a factory rather than a farm given its size."
and Julia Stanbury, pictured below, are among the residents
who are up in arms and considering taking formal action.
says: "Last summer, during the hot weather, the smell was particularly
horrendous - it's definitely not a normal farm smell. It's so bad
that we were unable to open any windows, you can't put out washing
and outdoor events are just not possible here. It lasts for up to
2-3 weeks at intervals of around 7-8 weeks, depending on the breeding
cycle of the chickens."
says the problems have grown over a period of several years. Back
in 2009, Hook 2 Sisters took over the original four sheds at Newbridge
Farm, which at the time had a capacity for 122,750 broiler chickens.
June 2010 the Environment Agency approved Hook 2 Sisters' application
to increase its capacity to 160,000 birds in the four wooden sheds.
August 2011, Amber Real Estate Investments applied to Sedgemoor
District Council for permission to demolish the four wooden sheds
and redevelop the site by replacing the sheds with five much larger
November 2011, Sedgemoor granted planning consent with one of the
conditions being that the "development will not cause unacceptable
levels of noise or odour". Another condition prohibited the
applicant using light-coloured 'goosewing grey' roofing material
and to use a darker colour instead.
March 2016, residents say work to demolish the old sheds started
and groundwork was also undertaken. In May that year, Hook 2 Sisters
also applied for a variation to their environmental permit to increase
the capacity at the larger site to 312,500 broiler chickens.
says that between March and September, the five new sheds were constructed
with the light-coloured 'goosewing grey' roofing material and the
new redeveloped site began operations in October 2016.
Houlet from Sedgemoor District Council confirmed to Burnham-On-Sea.com
this week: "We are currently investigating a number of complaints
received relating to potential breaches of planning in respect of
matters are being carefully considered and we hope to conclude the
investigations in the near future but currently I am unable to put
a timescale on this."
and Julia are also concerned about additional heavy goods vehicles
accessing the site via local roads, and also gas tanks installed
on the farm site near local homes which, according to planning documents,
contain 46,800 litres of liquid propane gas (LPG). Consent was also
given for those by Sedgemoor in 2016.
spoke out at February's meeting of East Huntspill Parish Council
regarding the full list of concerns. He urged residents to accurately
record occurrences of the odour and to call the Environment Agency
incident hotline on 0800 807060 every time the odour is smelt.
claims that formal odour modelling undertaken by an environmental
consultant had been "flawed" as the "odour dispersion
modelling is based on too many variables, including wind data from
global forecasting models, not actual data from or near the site".
He feels the modelling under-estimates the actual emissions by at
a letter from Public Health England to the Environment Agency, seen
by Burnham-On-Sea.com, states: "We are concerned about the
close proximity of residential properties that are within 250 metres
for bio-aerosals and 400 metres for odour of the site."
Environment Officer at the Environment Agency told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"The Environment Agency are aware of, and have substantiated,
odour complaints originating from Newbridge Farm Poultry Unit."
the past few months the Operator has been working to identify root
causes and mitigation techniques to help reduce the impact of the
farm on the local residents."
the site has experimented with feed formulations and a reduction
in bird numbers. It was planned to make alterations to the ventilation
system but the planning permission needed to be able to extend the
chimneys on the roofs was recently refused due to local objections
and visual impact."
a result the Operator, Hook 2 Sisters, are now being asked to provide
additional methods and techniques to reduce odour impact."
has also invited Hook 2 Sisters, the farm's owner, to comment and
will update this story if a response is received.