Residents living near a controversial chicken farm in East Huntspill have stepped up their calls to halt problems with ‘unbearable’ smells by launching a new petition.

As first reported here, residents living near Newbridge Farm in New Road, East Huntspill, say the pungent smells coming from the site have worsened over the past year.

They are awaiting a decision by Sedgemoor District Council on whether the farm’s owners have breached planning rules.

A new petition to urge Sedgemoor District Council to close down the controversial industrial chicken farm has been signed by hundreds of local people.

Nearby residents Ian and Julia Stanbury, pictured below, are among the locals who are up in arms and leading a push to get action.

“We’ve started a petition to urge Dawn de Vries (Principal Planning Officer at Sedgemoor District Council) to make the right decision and deem the site of the chicken farm as unauthorised and close it down. This is a critical opportunity for us to exert people power and achieve our aim of stopping this planning, pollution control and animal welfare travesty. It’s time to say ‘Stop! Enough is enough!'”, says Ian.

“Sedgemoor District Council has the opportunity and the authority to declare the site of a controversial industrial chicken farm in East Huntspill as unauthorised and order it to close down and be demolished. Pplease note that there would be no job losses – all the work is contracted out. Please help us persuade the Council to do the right thing by signing our petition.”

“So why is the chicken farm controversial? Why should it be shut down? It is a planning, pollution control and animal welfare disaster that is making our lives a misery and has blighted our part of the lovely Somerset countryside – and no one affected by it had any say in the matter!”

“The livelihoods of people nearby and the welfare of farm animals are being completely disregarded.”

It continues: “The unfiltered odour from the ammonia and faeces of over 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 in their own 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. According to Public Health England, the health of people living within a few hundred metres of the site risks being affected by bio-aerosols such as E-coli, salmonella and campylobacter.”

“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 short lives in their own faeces, are having a detrimental effect on the value and saleability of our properties and the income of local businesses.”

Stuart Houlet from Sedgemoor District Council confirmed to Burnham-On-Sea.com: “We are currently investigating a number of complaints received relating to potential breaches of planning in respect of the development.”

“These matters are being carefully considered and we hope to conclude the investigations in the near future but currently I am unable to put a timescale on this.”

jlastrasA Senior Environment Officer at the Environment Agency told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “The Environment Agency are aware of, and have substantiated, odour complaints originating from Newbridge Farm Poultry Unit.”

“Over the past few months the Operator has been working to identify root causes and mitigation techniques to help reduce the impact of the farm on the local residents.”

“Recently the site has experimented with feed formulations and a reduction in bird numbers. It was planned to make alterations to the ventilation system but the planning permission needed to be able to extend the chimneys on the roofs was recently refused due to local objections and visual impact.”

“As a result the Operator, Hook 2 Sisters, are now being asked to provide additional methods and techniques to reduce odour impact.”

Burnham-On-Sea.com has also invited Hook 2 Sisters, the farm’s owner, to comment and will update this story if a response is received.