LOCAL RESIDENT GROUPS in Powys have written to the council asking for it to pause all planning approvals for new poultry farms in the county.

In total, ten local action groups have written to local councillors to ask for the moratorium, saying that applications have been skewed in favour of farmers wishing to build commercial broiler and free-range egg farms.

Powys has one of the highest densities of poultry in Europe, with many small farmers seeing egg or chicken meat production as a diversification that offers businesses a stable return on investment with little land required.

The letter says: “We are increasingly concerned that PCC [Powys County Council] appears to be effectively rubber-stamping approval of a flood of these applications without apparent consideration of the overall impact on the county.

“There have been 130 completed applications for IPUs [Intensive Poultry Units] in Powys since June 2015 – and virtually all of them have been approved.

“There are 29 more in the pipeline.

“Our concern is that no-one is properly and thoroughly considering the wide cumulative impact on our environment and on the health of all those adults and children – our families and friends – who live in Powys.”

The groups are asking for:

  • A moratorium on all current and future intensive farm applications until the council is “able to take stock of the current situation accurately”.
  • A comprehensive environmental survey to find out if current air and water quality in parts of Powys with a concentration of poultry farms are near, or already beyond, saturation point.
  • An assessment of the human health considerations to residents posed by farms in Powys.
  • Details of how the council takes into account provisions of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
  • A halt on deciding all applications until the new intensive farming TAN (government Technical Advice Note) is in place to properly guide planning officers in their decision-making process.