River and air pollution from ammonia and nitrogen sited as key reasons for refusal of permission for large chicken sheds
Planning permission has been refused for an industrial chicken farm with the potential to rear approximately 1.5 million broiler chickens annually in Bridgnorth, Shropshire.
Inspector Bhupinder Thandi, who assessed the appeal (reference APP/L3245/W/21/3289216) identified issues related to air pollution and the potential impact on the Thatchers Wood and Westwood Covert Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), emphasising:
1. Adverse effects on nearby dwellings from offensive odours, even with the use air scrubbers.
2. Impact on the SSSI. The presence of already elevated levels of ammonia and nitrogen in the area was deemed to be harming the Thatchers Wood and Westwood Covert SSSI through eutrophication, which is a process by which water courses become enriched with nutrients, leading to harmful algal blooms and dead zones.
The inspector determined that allowing the proposed development would further degrade the SSSI and would be contrary to the aims of England's National Planning Policy Framework to ‘contribute to the overall quality of the area, and protect the natural environment.’
The original application (reference 17/01033/EIA) proposed to disperse the many tonnes of toxic waste produced by chickens onsite. Even when required to revise plans and export waste to an anaerobic digester 20 miles away, the plans for limiting pollution were not considered sufficient.
The refusal comes amid growing concerns over intensive livestock units’ impact on the environment and public health. Intensive agriculture is recognised as a major contributor to river pollution in the UK, and the country's climate change targets require a reduction, rather than an increase, in meat production and consumption in the UK.
Planning for the Planet, a campaign run by Sustain, is helping councils to adopt robust planning policies capable of effectively assessing and responding to applications for intensive livestock units. Find out how you can help protect local rivers, communities, and the climate.
Published 29 Jun 2023
Food for the Planet: Food for the Planet is helping local authorities, businesses and organisations take simple actions to tackle the climate and nature emergency through food.
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