A CONTROVERSIAL planning application for a meat rearing chicken farm near Knighton, which had been stopped earlier this year, is now being looked at again by Powys planners.

Earlier this year, environmental campaigners Sustainable Food Knighton (SFK) won a legal battle against Powys County Council (PCC) to stop a 110,000-broiler chicken farm at Llanshay Farm being built.

SFK believed the permission which had been given to applicant Thomas Price in September 2022 by planners under delegated powers to be unlawful, and applied for a judicial review on the decision.

After a High Court judge granted permission to proceed to a full judicial review hearing, PCC conceded the case and had to pay £20,500 in court costs.

That decision revolved around there being no evidence to say, that spreading manure from the units on the farmland twice a year, would not have an impact on the character or quality of the area.

Agent, Ian Pick, in a revised design and access statement following the legal decision, highlights the changes made to the manure management regime and building design.

These included all manures to be removed from the site for disposal via an anaerobic digester plantand a change to the building design "to incorporate air scrubbing technology to remove ammonia at source and enable the proposals to comply with the new NRW ammonia thresholds.”

Knighton Town Council has backed the proposal if the manure is sent to a digester.

Campaigners, SFK have told their supporters to start writing to PCC to object to the proposals.

A SFK spokesperson, said: “Despite our recent success overturning the planning approval at Llanshay Farm, the plan is now being reconsidered.

“Powys, Shropshire and Herefordshire collectively have the highest concentration of intensive poultry units (IPUs) in Europe, some for meat but others for egg production.

“Over seven million chickens cram into 150 IPUs across Powys at any one time.”

They believe the argument against the proposal includes the negative impact on landscape, the natural environment and human health.

They also argue it is “unclear” how effective the ammonia scrubbers would be and believe they represent “further industrialisation of farming”.

SFK also point out that IPUs take a toll on transport infrastructure and increase global carbon emissions.

SKF added: “The proposal to deal with the many tonnes of chicken manure produced by hauling it to an anaerobic digester 50 miles away merely shifts the problem and results in more lorry journeys.”

Mr Pick said: “This proposal is a small-scale poultry development which has been put forward by a family farming business as a way to further diversify the business, create additional income and secure existing employment.

“It will make a contribution to both the local and the national economy and to the national food supply.

“It will help to secure the future of an existing family farming business and so secure local employment for local people as well as creating additional income.”

“The development will make a valuable contribution to UK food supply and food security, producing table birds for the growing poultry market.”

The plans will be decided at a future date.