Fish Legal has begun a legal challenge after Powys County Council granted planning permission for a doubling in size of an industrial chicken unit near Builth Wells in the River Wye catchment. The permission is for an increase in bird numbers from 90,000 to 180,000. The decision notice to approve the development was published by the Council on 21 March 2022.
In a letter before action sent on 24 March, Fish Legal set out the reasons why the decision to grant the planning permission is unlawful and should be quashed. In particular, it highlights a failure by the Council to properly consider what will happen to tonnes of additional poultry manure that will be spread as digestate on land in the River Wye catchment.
Powys County Council have been given 14 days to respond.
In a separate challenge, Fish Legal put Natural Resources Wales on notice earlier this month under the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) Regulations that poultry farms high up in the Wye catchment are causing environmental damage.
Currently 60% of the River Wye and its catchment fails environmental targets for phosphates; a key pollutant that causes algal blooms on the river and adversely affects its ecology.