A CHICKEN farm adjoining the River Wye has been granted permission to double in size – but angling’s legal eagles are battling to stop the development.
In late March an industrial chicken unit near Builth Wells was given the green light by Powys County Council to increase bird numbers from 90,000 to 180,000. Poultry manure is widely recognised as a key factor in causing the Wye’s high phosphate levels, with 60 per cent of the river’s catchment failing environmental targets. High phosphates are a main cause of the Wye’s increasingly bad algal blooms, which block out light and stifle weed growth that’s vital to the well-being of coarse fish species.
Fish Legal has now challenged the decision and put Natural Resources Wales ‘on notice’ under the Environmental Damage Regulations.
Justin Neal, solicitor at Fish Legal, said: “The Wye is supposed to be protected as a Special Area of Conservation. It’s clear that both Natural Resources Wales and the local planning authority are failing in their duties to safeguard the river from the threats posed by industrial food production in its catchment.”
He added: “It’s astonishing that those two bodies are still failing utterly in their legal responsibilities to protect the river.”