At last! The news our supporters will have been waiting for! The following is the unedited text of a press release being sent out this week!
"Grassroots environmental group Sustainable Food Knighton’s battle against the spread across Powys of intensive poultry units (IPUs) received a massive boost last week, after Powys County Council conceded it had acted unlawfully in granting planning permission for an IPU.
SFK applied for a judicial review of the Council’s decision in early November and the Council conceded after a High Court Judge granted permission to proceed to a full judicial review hearing.
Powys County Council has admitted that the application should not have been approved, because there was no evidence before the Planning Officer to support the conclusion that the impacts on amenity would be acceptable because the fields would be “unlikely to be spread more than twice per annum”. In other words, it could not be assumed that the spreading of manure in order to dispose of it would not impact adversely on the local population or on people using the local area for recreation.
We are still in the process of agreeing the final draft order with the Council so that this can be approved by the court, but essentially this means that the permission for the IPU development will be quashed and, although the application can still be re-opened, the particular point conceded will have to be addressed along with, potentially, other grounds for objection that the group highlighted. These included factors such as the local impact on landscape, water and soil health, biodiversity and human health and also the cumulative impact of the hundreds of IPUs now in Powys. Taken together, the group argued, the resulting loss of biodiversity, ground and water pollution, increased greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on human health from ammonia emissions present a real risk, not just to Powys and Wales, but globally.
We want to give our heartfelt thanks to all those who helped to get us here, particularly the Environmental Law Foundation and our brilliant legal team - Philippa Jackson and Ruth Keating at 39 Essex Chambers, and Matthew McFeeley at Richard Buxton solicitors. Thanks also to our planning advisor, Helen Hamilton, of Marches Planning, who has been involved in this campaign from the very beginning, and to the Brecon and Radnor Branch of The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) and all other organisations and individuals who worked so hard on investigations into the environmental impacts for this planning application. Finally, a big thanks to all those many supporters who encouraged us and backed us financially both locally and nationally, through a crowd funding appeal as well as individual donations.
Sustainable Food Knighton spokesperson Camilla Saunders noted that farmers all over Wales and the UK are struggling to survive and some have given up, as weather becomes more uncertain, disease is rife among animals, and supermarkets insist on ‘cheap food’ for consumers. Of course, it is not cheap, when you look at the environmental costs, and how many farmers are going bankrupt, unable to meet the supermarkets’ conditions.
Meanwhile huge corporations such as Cargill rake in profits from intensive chicken and pig rearing as they sell the infrastructure and feed to individual farmers and make sure to do well out of it.
Ms Saunders states, “The contributions of intensive farming to ecosystem damage, biodiversity loss and climate change have been well documented. This year, pandemics permitting, the COP15 on Biodiversity will take place in China in May and COP 26, the UN climate change conference will take place in Glasgow in November. Intensive agriculture will be high on the agenda as it is now a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and plummeting biodiversity all over the world.
Powys and the Welsh government could take a lead in this, and not wait to be forced into doing the right thing by international law. Minister for the Environment, Leslie Griffiths, has agreed that farming must de-intensify, but so far nothing concrete has happened.
Refusing any further planning applications for IPUs and developing coherent agricultural policies that support farmers and their local communities would be a good start”.
23rd Jan 2021
What a great way to start 2021! Huge thanks to all those who went to our Crowd Justice page and pledged financial support for this action. We really could not have achieved this win without you.