Farm ordered to cut chicken numbers by 120,000 after neighbours' foul smell issues
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 August 2018
A chicken farm was told to reduce the number of birds it keeps by 120,000 after complaints about the smell.
Newbridge Farm in East Huntspill, has been the subject of complaints from people living nearby who claim pungent smells from the site have worsened over the past year.
Earlier this year the farm’s ventilation systems had been found to be faulty, but now the Environment Agency has stepped in and told farm owners Hook 2 Sisters to cut the chickens at the site from 312,000 to 192,000.
An Environment Agency briefing note says: “Since March 2017, we have received more than 160 complaints about odour from the site.
“Our records suggest odour seems most noticeable when the birds have reached a certain size, usually when they are over three weeks old.
“We have asked the operator to reduce the stocking density of birds in each of the sheds and to trial leaving shed five empty in an attempt to reduce odours.
“The operator has now reduced the stocking density to a total of 192,000 chickens across buildings one to four, and is continuing to leave shed five empty for the current batch of chickens.
“Engineers have recently carried out assessments of the ventilation system on site.
“It appears the roof fans were not getting rid of the air at the correct speed, leading to more odour.
“As a result, the engineers have made adjustments to the ventilation system and the operator is confident the ventilation system is now operating effectively.”
MORE: Petition launched in protest at chicken farm
Operator Hook 2 Sisters has also been told to carry out an independent odour survey at the farm, which is likely to take place in the autumn.
Despite the changes, people living in East Huntspill say the smell is still too strong and are being urged to report it to the Environment Agency.
More than 1,700 people have signed a petition calling for Sedgemoor District Council to close down the farm, in Newbridge Lane,.
Villagers are also still waiting on a decision from Sedgemoor District Council on whether the farm’s roof design breaches planning regulations.