Stop Bridgnorth Chicken Factory Farm - Appeal case

by Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group

Stop Bridgnorth Chicken Factory Farm - Appeal case

by Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group
Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group
Case Owner
Bridgnorth based action group fighting to prevent a chicken factory farm from being built on the edge of our town of 12,000 people.
Funded
on 08th January 2019
£1,920
pledged of £5,000 stretch target from 34 pledges
Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group
Case Owner
Bridgnorth based action group fighting to prevent a chicken factory farm from being built on the edge of our town of 12,000 people.

Latest: June 17, 2019

Planning Application Resubmitted

Following our successful legal challenge in the Court of Appeal, Shropshire Council’s original decision to approve the intensive chicken farm at Tasley on the edge of Bridgnorth has been quas...

Read more

We are a group of local residents challenging Shropshire Council’s decision to grant planning permission for a chicken factory farm without properly considering the impacts that the farm would have on our health and our environment. We are taking our case to the Court of Appeal to try to ensure that local authorities around the country know they cannot turn a blind eye to these impacts when they consider whether to permit new factory farms.

The farm, which is only a few hundred metres from our homes, would rear 1.5 million birds a year and produce over 2,300 tonnes of chicken manure annually. Ventilation fans at the farm would disperse odours and fine particles of chicken waste over the surrounding area, and the manure would be spread on land as fertiliser, locally and elsewhere in the County. But the Council refused to consider where the 2300 tonnes of manure would go, and what impacts it would have on local residents, saying these were ‘not relevant’.  

Local residents challenged the Council’s decision in the High Court. The High Court rejected the challenge and issued a judgment implying that the local government planning application process need not consider these aspects of the potential environmental damage from industrial farms like this one and the manure they produce.  The Judge also found that the manure would be controlled by the environmental permit, even though the Environment Agency says that their permits do not cover manure once it leaves the site.

A senior Lord Justice has now ruled that the issues raised in our appeal merit consideration by a full panel of the Court of Appeal.

This is our last chance to clarify the law and stop this factory farm going ahead. Please support our appeal to ensure local authorities take account of local residents’ health and environment when deciding whether to permit factory farms!

This case affects all of us and we need your help. Please contribute and share the link as widely as you can.

 Thank you - Tasley Chicken Farm Action Group

Get updates about this case

Subscribe to receive email updates from the case owner on the latest news about the case.

Recent contributions

Support the case

Be a promoter

Your share on Facebook could raise £26 for the case

I'll share on Facebook
Update 5

Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group

June 17, 2019

Planning Application Resubmitted

Following our successful legal challenge in the Court of Appeal, Shropshire Council’s original decision to approve the intensive chicken farm at Tasley on the edge of Bridgnorth has been quashed. 

A revised planning application has been submitted and Shropshire Council must now decide on the planning application again. 

The revised application has been modified slightly. It is now proposed that the chicken litter produced by the farm will go to a biodigester for energy production, rather than being spread as fertiliser on land near the farm and elsewhere in Shropshire. This is not enough. The revision doesn’t deal with the many other problems associated with the proposal.

What’s proposed is to build 4 large sheds (300 feet long and 80 feet wide), each housing 52,500 chickens. The poultry will be raised from day old to up to 38 days old, then taken away to be slaughtered and processed. It’s largely an automated process, which will create just one full time job on site. Large amounts of feed will be brought to the site by goods vehicles, and waste will accumulate as chicken litter whilst the birds are on site. At the end of each cycle the sheds will be cleaned out and the decaying poultry litter (2,300 tonnes a year) removed. The sheds require ventilation for temperature management, and unfiltered exhaust air will be pumped into the atmosphere by high-speed fans and allowed to disperse over the surrounding area. Despite the site being just 700 yards from homes on the Wenlock Rise estate and less than a mile and a half from Bridgnorth High Street, Shropshire Council initially approved this proposal on 29th August 2017.

 We all need to OBJECT to the planning application for the intensive poultry development at Tasley on the edge of Bridgnorth.

 Shropshire Council is required to decide whether the planning application meets legal requirements and complies with its planning policies. But it’s not clear-cut, so your views can help persuade the planning committee to use their discretion to reject the application.

 You don’t have to be a planning expert to have your say – let them know what matters to YOU.

 If you formally objected to Shropshire Council in 2017, please do so again, and if you didn’t before, then please, please do so now. Let them know that simply taking the manure somewhere else doesn’tmake the proposal acceptable.

Please follow the link for further information:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/15Wk03OV-H0AsBf7IYcp9_GWD2L-KXrE0/view?usp=sharing

 

Update 4

Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group

May 28, 2019

We won...

We have won our legal case to stop the intensive poultry unit from being built on the edge of Bridgnorth town. The Court of Appeal has issued a rebuke to Shropshire Council and the case will have repercussions for intensive poultry unit developments across the country.

We are pleased and relieved that we won, but it’s been an exhausting, expensive, and protracted experience we wouldn’t wish on anybody. We could not have done this without all the people who have supported us over the last two years, everybody made a difference and gave us the heart to go on. 

Our barrister, Estelle Dehon, said “In light of the Court of Appeal’s decision, it is important that the odour and dust impact impacts of the storage and spreading of manure or slurry be subjected to proper assessment. Developers and Councils can no longer rely on control via the Environmental Permit, or on the fact that such spreading is ‘common practice’, or on a generalised commitment to comply with the provisions of the Code Of Good Agricultural Practice and produce a manure management plan. Instead, the fields where the storage and spreading will take place have to be identified; the potential dust and odour impacts modelled and an assessment made of the likely significant effects on the environment and on nearby residents.”

The unit at Tasley would have reared 1.5 million birds a year producing over 2,300 tonnes of chicken manure annually, and dispersing odours and fine particles of chicken waste over the surrounding area. The manure would have been spread on land as fertiliser, locally and elsewhere in the county. 

Shropshire Council’s planning committee, chaired by Cllr David Evans, who is a poultry breeder with a nationwide supply network, passed this intensive poultry unit at Tasley knowing its environmental and health problems. They dismissed all our objections, and Cllr Madge Shineton was outspokenly in favour of it. When our objections were placed in front of the Council’s Chief Executive, Clive Wright, who had a £47,000 annual pay increase last year despite funding cutbacks in vital Council services, he delegated these to his Director of Public Health, who took his time before responding dismissively. 

Planning applications for intensive poultry units are controversial, and since the Council first approved this unit in August 2017, the UK Government has recognised that the emissions from them and the manure they generate, contributes to both pollution and smog in towns and cities. The UK Government says Bridgnorth is one of many hotspots across the Shropshire with illegally high levels of pollution. 

The farming sector, which is responsible for 88 per cent of ammonia emissions, is being encouraged to invest in equipment. But UK100, a pressure group representing 90 UK Councils, said the scheme would fail unless it included tough new legislation.

In 2018, Shropshire Council revised its planning guidelines to control pollution after admitting it had allowed too many ammonia producing intensive poultry units to be built in Shropshire, with over 100 as at 2017.  In defiance of their own guidelines which state that ammonia and nitrogen levels are already over 200% or more above the baseline levels required for protection of ancient woodland habitats, the Council has continued to approve more intensive poultry units, including in the most sensitive and protected areas. 

In the last 3 months, in the face of overwhelming local opposition, and in defiance of their of their own planning guidelines, the Council approved an industrial egg factory in the pristine Corvedale in the heart of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as well as a massive broiler unit at Hopton Heath in the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) protected Clun valley.

The Council’s approach to development in this intensive factory farming sector is facing mounting challenges, and they are spending more and more in legal costs at a time of stringent budget cuts and more pressing needs elsewhere. The Council needs to seriously review its approach and ask who is benefiting from these intensive poultry unit developments. Clearly, only the individual farmer and the shareholders of largely multinational poultry processors benefit. Certainly not the vast majority of people living in Shropshire. 

Unlike most other businesses, owners of intensive poultry units are exempt from paying rates or Council Tax. These exemptions represent a massive subsidy on top of the land-based subsidies farmers already receive just for owning farmland. Furthermore, communities bear multiple indirect costs associated with continuous HGV traffic (road repairs, vehicle emissions, etc), plus environmental water and soil cleanup costs, and stand to lose both economically and in terms of health and well-being.

Update 3

Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group

March 17, 2019

Court of Appeal case against controversial Bridgnorth factory farm imminent

We are taking Shropshire Council to the Court of Appeal.

The factory farm would rear 1.5 million birds a year producing over 2,300 tonnes of chicken manure annually and dispersing odours and fine particles of chicken waste over the surrounding area, and the manure would be spread on land as fertiliser, locally and elsewhere in the County. 

We dispute whether the Council fully considered the impacts the farm, and the waste it generates, would have on people’s health and the environment. 

Previously a High Court hearing ruled that the Council had followed the proper procedures, but the case will now go before a panel of Appeal Court judges on Tuesday, 19 March 2019.

Planning applications for these types of factory farms are controversial, and since the Council approved this factory farm, the UK Government has recognised that the emissions from them, and the manure they generate, contributes to both pollution and smog in towns and cities. The UK Government says Bridgnorth is one of many hotspots across the County with illegally high levels of pollution. 

The farming sector, which is responsible for 88 per cent of ammonia emissions, is being encouraged to invest in equipment. But UK100, a pressure group representing 90 UK councils, said the scheme would fail unless it included tough new legislation.

In 2018, the Council revised its planning guidelines after acknowledging it had allowed too many ammonia producing factory farms to operate in the County (over 100 in 2017). The Council recently approved applications for factory farms at Hoptonheath and Corvedale. The applications include increased measures to control emissions from the factories, but not from the substantial amount of manure that will be spread on the surrounding lands. 

We want to win this appeal because it’s the only way to stop this factory farm polluting the land, our lives, and the air we breath, for generations to come. 

Despite measures now being taken to reduce the environmental impact, smell, and toxic fumes per factory farm, the number of these factories has increased to such an extent, that total levels of pollution will actually increase. If these measures are required for new factory farms, then surely they should be required to be fitted retrospectively. Furthermore, these so-called measures are being used to justify building more factory farms that are also closer to residential communities, as can be shown by this planned chicken factory on the outskirts of Bridgnorth and Tasley.  

Throughout each 6 week breeding cycle, toxic waste steadily accumulates and emissions peak. At the end of each cycle, when toxic levels are at their highest, the chickens are removed for slaughter and the whole disgusting mess that remains (i.e., manure, medicated feed, body parts, etc) is simply dumped untreated on the surrounding lands, and anything that cannot be absorbed by the soil runs off into local waterways. This cannot be in any way compared to the traditional and sustainable farming practice of manure spreading. This work is so dangerous that workers must wear biological safety clothing.

Factory farm chickens are raised in such unsanitary conditions, they must be fed medicated food to stop them dying before being ‘harvested’ as cheap processed food. These conditions are ideal for breeding germs that can no longer be treated with antibiotics. All this has been ignored by the Council.

We have had to raise a lot of money to fight a legal battle lasting nearly 2 years against the Council, who are using public money to defend their policy of building obsolete factory farms that pollute the air and land, putting gain and profit before public health and safety. 

Shropshire Council needs to seriously consider its obligations to look after the best interests of the public they serve, and deliver sustainable stewardship of Shropshire lands.

References 

Regional newspaper exposing that large areas across Shropshire are polluted with illegally high levels of ammonia and nitrogen according to H.M Government’s official National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory map. Details are at: https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2019/01/21/how-clean-is-our-air-figures-demonstrate-shropshire-pollution-hotspots/

Shropshire Council’s revised planning guidance on assessing the impact of ammonia emissions from livestock units on natural assets in April 2018. Details are at: https://shropshire.gov.uk/media/9752/interim-guidance-note-on-ammonia-emitting-developments-v1april2018-web-version.pdf

National newspaper exposing the lifecycle of factory chickens used for meat and egg production. Details are at: 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/24/real-cost-of-roast-chicken-animal-welfare-farms 

H.M. Government published tightening up aspects of environmental permitting following new regulations effective from 16th May 2017; applications which were subject to ammonia screening before that date (as would appear to be the case with Footbridge Farm) are to be processed under the previous procedure. Details are at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/environmental-impact-assessment

H.M. Government published its draft Clean Air Strategy for consultation in May 2018, and included a reduction in emissions from farming as one of its objectives. Final proposals are expected in March 2019. Details are at: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/environmental-quality/clean-air-strategy-consultation/

DEFRA issued an updated Code of Good Agricultural Practice on reducing (COGAP) ammonia emissions in July 2018. Details are at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/code-of-good-agricultural-practice-for-reducing-ammonia-emissions/code-of-good-agricultural-practice-cogap-for-reducing-ammonia-emissions

Update 2

Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group

Feb. 6, 2019

Court bundles filed

Quick update - our solicitors and barrister have recently finalised the bundles for the hearing.  These were filed with the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Update 1

Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group

Jan. 20, 2019

Update

Your generous support and donations have succeeded in raising 100% of our initial target of £1500. This has paid the court fee. The appeal is going ahead, and we are now crowdfunding a £5000 stretch target to help towards the rest of the legal costs.

If we win, not only will this proposed factory farm be stopped, but local authorities around the country will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to the serious problems these types of intensive factory farms have on people’s health, wellbeing, and the environment.

There have been some hard ups and downs getting this far but we now have a real prospect of success. Hope has become reality. We can win, but only by pulling together can we get this through. With so much at stake, we all have to do the best we can to help no matter how little. It all makes a difference. 

It would really help our cause if you could:

Your kind donations and support gives a real chance of preventing this farm being built and improving the quality of life for people and animals up and down the country for generations to come.

Best wishes,

Tasley Action Group

Get updates about this case

Subscribe to receive email updates from the case owner on the latest news about the case.

    There are no public comments on this case page.