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Concerns raised that 181,000 chicken farm development could pollute River Wye

05 Jan 2022 3 minute read

Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter

Plans to increase the capacity of an existing chicken farm near Llandrindod Wells, have been lodged with Powys County Council.

But concerns have been raised that the proposal could cause pollution in the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Applicant Ben Owens of Owen Brothers wants to add two new poultry units as well as four feed bins, a dirty water tank and a drainage attenuation pond at Bryn Thomas poultry unit, Penybont, Bettws Disserth to the east of Llandrindod Wells.

The units would be for 52,000 birds each and would raise the farms capacity to 181,000 birds.

The farm already has two egg-laying units to accommodate 32,000 hens.

In 2019, the family were given the go-ahead by Powys planners to change the use of the egg-laying units to meat-producing broiler chickens.

This meant the bird capacity was increased to a total of 77,000.

Bryn Thomas Farm Existing Poultry Unit from Google Street View.

Agent, Ian Pick explained the proposal in a design and access statement.

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

“It will contribute to both the local and the national economy and to the national food supply.”

Mr Pick said that during pre-application discussions with planning officers the development was seen as “acceptable in principle.”

“The proposed development represents an additional investment of approximately £1.5 million in the construction of the expanded poultry farm,” he said.

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


Welsh Government sponsored environment body, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) who are a statutory consultee, have however raised concerns that the development could cause pollution.

NRW development planning advisor, Cinzia Sertorio said: “The River Ithon which is part of the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is approximately 200 metres from the farm.

“The proposal includes the creation of an attenuation pond which is hydrologically connected to the river and designed to receive water from the roofs of the buildings.

“We consider there is potential water pollution and a phosphorus pathway that could affect the integrity of the River Wye SAC features.”

Ms Sertorio advised Powys planners of the need for the applicant to include further information with the application.

This needs to explain how the River Wye could be protected from contamination. The deadline for a decision to be made by Powys County Council, is February 22.

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