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Bridgnorth chicken farm fight going to High Court

By Lisa O'Brien | Bridgnorth | News | Published:

An action group is taking its fight against a planned chicken farm near Bridgnorth to the High Court in June.

The Tasley Chicken Factory Farm Action Group has been granted permission to have its judicial review heard at High Court to challenge the plans.

The group has revealed on its online crowdfunding page that protestors will be heading to the Royal Courts of Justice in London on June 7.

More than £4,200 has been raised through the online appeal to help with the legal costs.

The group raised a judicial review against Shropshire Council after planning approval was granted for a 210,000-bird unit in Tasley.

Campaigners say the review cites “inadequacies” in the manure management report and the council’s “failure to take account of the impact of spreading manure from the chicken farm on the residents of Bridgnorth”.

Protesters approached the Royal Courts of Justice in London in January and Judge Mark Ockelton decided the case can now proceed to the next stage.

A new post on the group's crowdfunding page says the final hearing will be on June 7.

The post says: "We are fighting to stop this very large broiler chicken farm, one with nearly a quarter of a million chickens producing over 2,300 tonnes of manure every year, from being built on the edge of Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

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"If built, it would be within the incredibly short distance of 600 metres downwind from a nearby housing estate, one with hundreds of homes, many with young families.

"This case raises important questions about the proper approach to permitting factory farms.

"Here, like many local authorities, Shropshire Council ignored the impacts of spreading large quantities of manure that will be generated by the farm on the basis that it is 'normal agricultural practice' to spread manure on fields.

"Of course, this ignores the fact that the facility will generate thousands of tonnes of new manure each year and that this manure can have serious impacts on health and the environment, causing noxious odours and increasing dangerous particulate air pollution as manure dust becomes airborne.

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"Our legal claim seeks to establish that a proper approach to planning policy and the environmental impact assessment rules require the council to take these impacts into account before making any decision to permit a new factory farm (or allow expansion of an existing one) and would set an important legal precedent that could ensure that local authorities are forced to reckon with the true impacts of factory farms – and disclose them publicly – before making a decision on whether to allow them.

"Sadly, we cannot challenge the welfare of the chickens because legally we can only challenge the planning process, but if we win in court it could prevent this and other future farms being built."

The planning application initially received more than 300 objections in total before it was approved by Shropshire Council’s planning committee in August.

Before the meeting, dozens of protestors chanted and waved placards along the A442 against the controversial planned poultry farm.

The protest happened as councillors were taking part in a site visit.

The plans for Footbridge Farm involve four poultry buildings, gatehouse and water tank.

Protesters have expressed concerns over smell, dust and potential health implications it could cause.

Previously, applicants’ agent Ian Pick said that the plans met relevant criteria.

To see the campaign group’s appeal go to crowdjustice.com/case/stoptasleychickenfactoryfarm

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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