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Save the River Wye!

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Save the River Wye! Demand moratorium on all new poultry units in Powys

Kate Bull started this petition to Powys County Council

Every summer now, the River Wye is turning a putrid green and its delicate ecology is being destroyed by algae blooms that are caused by effluent from poultry farms flowing into it. If this goes on, we will lose everything that we treasure about the Wye. It will turn a horrible, ugly green every time it gets sunny. The fish will go, and they will be followed by our kingfishers, our dippers and our herons. It is very, very worrying.

There are now 116 intensive poultry units (IPUs) in Powys, each raising more than 40,000 birds. With an estimated 8.5 million chickens on permitted units in the county, that is 64 times more chickens than people.

Powys County Council and Natural Resources Wales have a legal responsibility to protect Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) such as the Wye. They have, however, been apparently unwilling to use the existing laws to protect the river from the damage caused by a proliferation of poultry units in the county. When granting planning permission, the Council has consistently refused to consider the impact of new poultry developments individually and cumulatively on the local environment, including the county's rivers and water courses.

Enough is enough. We call on Powys County Council to instate an immediate moratorium on planning permissions for new or extended poultry units in the county until the full environmental - and community - impacts of those we already have can be assessed and reduced.

Sign petition here.

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In 1988 when my wife and I converted a 14th century hall house in Eyton into a small country house hotel we had the problem of the building's waste running into a septic tank which then overflowed into the stream passing through the property. In order to cure the problem a mechanical treatment plant costing upwards of £25,000 would have to be installed according to the Environment Agency.

A chance meeting with Dr Rick Hudson of Cress Water resolved the problem for only £900 and was the first reed bed installation in Herefordshire. The reed bed sat unobstrusively in the grounds and the water coming out of the system was cleaner than the water in the stream to which we were discharging and no smells. 

These chicken farms could be dealt in the same manner.

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1 hour ago, megilleland said:

These chicken farms could be dealt in the same manner.

I think you'll find that the mountains of slurry and manure that the poultry produce (poultry manure is by some margin the most phosphate rich muck produced by domesticated animals) in principally Powys, would require a wetland system about three times the size of the Powys to ameliorate! There are over 10 million birds there now with planning permission granted. The manure management plans say a lot will be exported these days. Where to?? Herefordshire...? This is a regulatory failure by both NRW and Powys CC on a scale hitherto thought possible only somewhere in central Africa.  It's a crying shame, and the petition is a great start to get the problem sorted out. It will take several years to compensate all the farms that have been perfectly lawfully carrying on polluting with the blessing (ie planning permission) of PCC and the aid and assistance of the supermarket supply chain that pays them (think the likes of Avara, Noble Foods and Cargill etc). Taxpayers will once again have deep pockets to pay for the mess that large scale industrial farming creates. Don't forget the mantra #CheapFood - one of Mr Gove's favourite reasons for Brexit, IIRC.

This is a big scandal and is only going to get bigger in the coming months!

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