We urge Sedgemoor District Council to close down a controversial industrial chicken farm
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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 (please note that it's unlikely there would be job losses – nearly 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 by an insensitive, profit-hungry conglomerate that thinks it can flout the rules and get away with it. This is an example of the worst side of capitalism defeating democracy and breaking the law. Up until now, the Council has done nothing to relieve our suffering but there is now a chance for it to rectify the situation. The arrogance of the site’s owner, Amber Real Estate Investments, and the operator Hook 2 Sisters (both part of the scandal-ridden Boparan Holdings group), could turn out to be their undoing; an expert planning consultant has declared that their contraventions of the planning permission are so significant as to render the permission invalid and that their application to resolve the ‘errors’ and effectively wipe the slate clean, is unlawful. We just need Sedgemoor District Council to agree and make a decision that supports the people it is meant work for, and not favour a multi-million-pound business that brings no economic or social benefit to this area – just the complete opposite.
What are the impacts on our lives? The unfiltered odour from the ammonia and faeces of over 300,000 factory reared chickens that builds up over every seven-week ‘crop cycle’ is causing significantly harmful impacts on the residents and tourist-dependent businesses in the surrounding area. For four 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. One nearby resident’s COPD worsened and they now have lung cancer. Despite the Environment Agency having substantiated the complaints made about the odour since January 2017 as a high-level Category 2 breach of the environmental permit conditions, it has not yet taken any formal enforcement action; however, it is now forcing the operator to take measures to reduce the odour but these do not appear to be working. The odour nuisance is also a breach of the planning permission which was approved on the basis it “…will not cause unacceptable levels of noise or odour…” 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.
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