Campaigners say urgent action is needed to stop the River Wye from dying. Phosphate from poultry farms is said to be smothering the river stopping fish, insects and birds from feeding.
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.