Call for chicken farm to shut due to ‘overpowering’ smell

Newbridge Farm, East Huntspill - which residents are complaining about the smell of.

Newbridge Farm, East Huntspill - which residents are complaining about the smell of. - Credit: Archant

A petition has been launched calling for the closure of a chicken farm making life ‘a misery’ for nearby villagers.

People living near Newbridge Farm in East Huntspill claim pungent smells coming from the site have got worse over the past 12 months.

Ian Stanbury has started an online campaign urging Sedgemoor District Council to ease the ‘harmful impact’ the farm is having on people’s lives.

He says: “The unfiltered odour from the ammonia and faeces of more than 300,000 factory reared chickens that builds up over every eight-week crop cycle is causing significantly harmful impacts on the residents and tourist-dependent businesses in the surrounding area.

“For three weeks of each cycle, locals dread going outside into their gardens or opening their windows for fear of becoming nauseous, and tourist-related businesses are losing bookings because of the overpowering smell. One of the local schools kept the children inside on one occasion because the smell was so bad.

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“Both the odour issue and the highly visual impact of five large industrial buildings in the middle of the countryside, each containing about 60,000 chickens living their lives in their own faeces, are having a detrimental effect on the value and saleability of our properties and the income of local businesses.”

Site operators Hook 2 Sisters have been experimenting with different feed formulations and a reduction in bird numbers to try to reduce the impact.

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It had also planned to make changes to the farm’s ventilation system by extending the chimneys on the roofs, but it was refused planning permission.

The Environment Agency has asked the operators find a way of minimising the odour impact.

A spokesman said: “We have received numerous odour complaints about Newbridge Farm poultry unit since the site was redeveloped.

“Over the past few months the operator has been working to identify the root causes and mitigation techniques to reduce the impact of the farm on residents. We have attended the site and surrounding area in order to substantiate the complaints, rate the level of odour and try to identify the cause.”

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