Industrial intensive broiler chicken units are known for producing serious amounts of ammonia, dust and chicken manure odours, and this may lead to intense smells being blown into surrounding areas including the centre of Welshpool, which would make it very unpleasant (and unhealthy) for residents, shoppers, visitors and tourists.
The health, well-being and human rights of local residents will be put at risk through an increase in traffic, air pollution, infections and noise due to the proposal’s industrial size and scale.
IPUs pose a serious health risk to human health
The proximity of this IPU to residential homes (there are more than 30 residences and families living within 500 metres of this proposed development, and many more are less than 1 mile away in nearby Welshpool) many of which are elderly and vulnerable, will be exposed to air pollutants including fine dust and ammonia. Ammonia is a recognised cause of lung, throat, eye and skin irritation and disease, and poses serious medical and health risks (as cited by the WHO).
Higher ammonia concentrations in the air is associated with declining lung function in vulnerable adults, children and asthma sufferers living in the vicinity of intensive poultry units, such as the one proposed at Frochas Farm. Anhydrous ammonia fumes have resulted in nasopharyngeal and tracheal burns, airway obstruction and respiratory distress, and bronchiolar and alveolar edema.
People suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) living near IPUs have been diagnosed with more acute symptoms than those in non-IPU localities. Incidents of pneumonia amongst the vulnerable also increase in the vicinity of IPUs.
In addition to respiratory issues, potential health impacts from IPU emissions include diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people. Avian (bird) flu outbreaks are an increasingly common occurrence and have resulted as a direct consequence of the intensive poultry industry. The relatively low pathogenic variants of this disease are mutated to the high pathogenic form in the heated, overcrowded, high stress, conditions of the IPU units.
Anti microbial resistant (AMR) bacteria are another by-product of the IPU drug regime and another potentially serious health risk. The main types of bacteria most commonly associated with AMR in humans are recognised by experts as those likely to be frequently transmitted from animals to the human population.
Salmonella and Campylobacter are the two most reported infections in the intensive poultry industry. In recent years other bacteria such as E.coli have become a significant problem. Emerging evidence has shown that Staphylococcus Aureus and its methicillin resistant variant MRSA also occur in the IPU livestock.
Increase in flies
There is a significant increase in housefly population in areas local to IPUs. Flies are attracted to animal food sources and the decaying organic matter in and around the IPU. Their indiscriminate movements over wide areas can lead to both the spread and increased risk of human exposure to food-borne pathogens. They will be carriers of Salmonella and Camplyobacter bacteria which are common within IPUs.
The IPU is in close proximity to numerous residential properties, just one mile from Welshpool high street, less than 500m to Glyndwr’s Way and less than 0.7 miles from Llanfair Light Railway, a very popular tourist attraction. Tourists, families and residents of Welshpool will be exposed to health risks from airborne ammonia, flies, poultry dust and increased HGV particulate emissions generated by the proposed IPU.
The Welsh government’s guidance to local planning authorities dated June 12, 2018 (document available here), states that “intensive agricultural units, particularly pig and poultry farms, can affect sensitive habitats and the local population. This is largely due to the release of pollutants.”
The pollution effects associated with this industrial-sized IPU, in close proximity to residential areas, demands a thorough independent investigation of public health and pollution impacts with definitive conclusions. In the absence of a detailed investigation, all alternatives involve taking a gamble with the health and well-being of the local population.
We urge our elected representatives not to take this gamble.