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Court of Appeal revokes broiler farm planning over environmental impact

THE COURT OF APPEAL has ruled that an Environmental Permit (EP) for a proposed broiler development was insufficient because it failed to consider manure spreading on adjacent farmland.

An earlier High Court ruling was overturned by some of the most senior judges in the UK because the proposed development’s EP only required the permit holder to “identify and minimise the risks of pollution from the disposal [of manure]” off the site in question.

There was no obligation for the Environment Agency (EA) to control dust or odour issues from activities outside of the boundary of the installation – effectively the site on which the broiler farms would be situated, according to Cornerstone Barristers.

The ruling will have implications for other proposed poultry developments as it suggests long-established norms for applications are insufficient.

It also found that the Environmental Impact Assessment was “deficient” because it relied on a not-yet produced Manure Management Plan, which would only relate to the developer’s own land.

Furthermore, “it did not appreciate that the Environmental Permit would not control the odour and dust effects of the storage and spreading of the manure”.

Cornerstone represented the case on behalf of local resident Tricia Squire, who lives 300m from the proposed development in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. A group of local residents formed an action group against the proposed development.

The farm wanted to build four broiler units to diversify its business in which about 1.5 million birds would be reared each year, producing 2,300t of manure.

Planning was first approved by Shropshire Council in 2017, before being subject to a judicial review. Last year, Deputy Judge Rhodri Lewis QC dismissed her challenge, but the case was brought to the Court of Appeal by determined residents.

Cornerstone said the matter was relevant to “many” types of intensive farming, applying equally to slurry spreading or pig manure management. “In light of the Court of Appeal’s decision, it is important that the odour and dust impacts of the storage and spreading of manure or slurry be subjected to proper assessment,” it said in a statement.


The council must now reconsider both the EP and EIA before approving the development.

Gary Ford, the NFU’s chief poultry adviser, said: “The NFU is aware of the judgment in this case and we are considering the impacts it could have on the planning process for our members and the poultry and livestock sector”.