More chicken farm applications in Powys than rest of Wales
Powys deserves to be called the “poultry capital of Wales”, data from Freedom of Information (FOI) requests has shown.
This summer all planning authorities in Wales, and the border counties of Herefordshire and Shropshire, were asked how many planning applications for intensive poultry units had been received between April 1 2017 and April 1, 2020.
The councils were also asked about the outcomes of these applications.
In that time, the data shows that Powys has received 96 applications, of which 75 have been approved, three have been refused and 18 are still in the process of being decided or are still “active.” In the same time frame, planning authorities across the the rest of Wales received 20 applications, of which 13 were approved, two were refused, four are still active and one application was withdrawn.
Herefordshire and Shropshire received a combined total of 35 applications, of which 20 were approved, three refused and 12 are still active.
In recent months, campaigners against chicken farms have banded together to ask for a pause on applications.
This so that the environmental impact of the volume of applications can be assessed.
But they were told by Powys planners that this could not be done as it would “conflict with it’s statutory duty” of dealing with applications in a timely manner.
Dr Christine Hugh-Jones speaking on behalf of Montgomeryshire and Brecon and Radnorshire Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) said: “These figures are truly shocking and show the true state of the problem we face in Powys.
“We knew of the huge discrepancy with the rest of Wales but not that it was so very extreme.
“While proximity to processing factories and saturation in parts of Herefordshire and Shropshire are factors, they are not enough to explain the concentration in Powys compared to the low figures for all the rest of Wales.”
According to documents that accompany planning applications, farmers are looking to secure their families long term futures by diversifying into chicken meat or egg production.
This could also protect them from trading problems in beef, lamb or other farming markets caused by Brexit uncertainty.
A spokesman for NFU (National Farming Union) Cymru said that Welsh farmers take their environmental responsibilities “very seriously.”
He said: “The planning system for building poultry houses, and other agricultural buildings, is heavily regulated with farmers adhering to strict animal health and welfare, environmental and food safety standards.
“They are regularly checked and verified by government and their agencies, alongside independent assurance bodies.”