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Scale of Powys poultry expansion revealed

hens ranging outdoors

THERE HAVE been 139 planning approvals for poultry farms in the county of Powys over the past five years, new research has revealed.

The figures relate to both broiler and layer operations and account for 4.5m bird places and were compiled by the Campaign to Protect Rural Wales’ (CPRW) Brecon and Radnor Branch.

See also: Grant funding awarded to Scottish poultry firms

It is the fifth year that the group has provided the figures. There were 156 applications in total, with five refusals – of those, four have been resubmitted.

It comes as separate work by the Local Democracy Reporting Service looked at planning applications across Wales over the past three years.

Reporters submitted Freedom of Information requests to all planning authorities in Wales asking how many planning applications had been received, and approved, for intensive poultry developments.

Powys

In Powys, there were 96, compared with 20 across the rest of Wales. Bordering Herefordshire and Shropshire received a combined total of 35 applications.  

Of the 96 submitted in Powys, 75 were approved. Three have been refused, and 18 are still ‘active’, the news website MyWelshpool reported.

The mid-Wales poultry population has come under scrutiny this summer because of a major algal bloom on the River Usk, which has a tributary that runs through Powys.

Algal blooms

The Wye and Usk Foundation said modelling had suggested the proportion of phosphate in the lower Wye coming from agriculture – a contributor to algae blooms – has doubled in the past six years.

A report it published says that the geographical location of the extra phosphate – being close to a poultry-dense tributary of the river – is “believed to be a factor in the blooms’ severity”.

At the time, NFU Cymru said it was disappointed the group had pointed the finger at farming, saying that evidence showed application rates of nitrogen, phosphates and potash had been declining since 1983 and water quality had been improving.