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‘We have to wear masks in our garden’ - villagers slam ‘unbearable’ chicken farm smell

PUBLISHED: 12:34 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:24 24 September 2020

Carol & Dave Webb and their neighbours Sarah & Graham Craske wearing face masks in Fulmodeston. Picture: Dave Webb

Carol & Dave Webb and their neighbours Sarah & Graham Craske wearing face masks in Fulmodeston. Picture: Dave Webb

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People living near a chicken farm say they have to wear face masks in their gardens due to its “unbearable odour”.

The road leading to Poplars Poultry Farm in Fulmodeston, leased by Banham Poultry. Picture: Dave WebbThe road leading to Poplars Poultry Farm in Fulmodeston, leased by Banham Poultry. Picture: Dave Webb

Villagers in Fulmodeston, near Fakenham, have made over 350 complaints to the Environment Agency regarding noise and odour coming from Poplars Poultry Farm.

They said the smell from the farm, used by Banham Poultry since 2012, had become “unbearable” over the last three years.

Husband and wife David and Carol Webb have been in the village for 10 years and noticed the smell getting worse in recent years.

“The smell has become unbearable,” Mr Webb said. “We now have to wear masks when in our gardens or walking outside because the smell is so bad and we don’t know what chemicals are being released. We can’t open our windows or hang washing out because the smell clings to it.

Banham Poultry signs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBanham Poultry signs. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“Now they have started doing deliveries overnight with massive lorries, it’s ridiculous. The night work is causing sleep deprivation and has an effect on children and church services and funerals are being interrupted as Banham refuse not to work on Sundays. They do not respect the village or even acknowledge they are in the middle of one.”

Blaine Van Rensburg, managing director of Banham Poultry, said: “Fulmodeston Farm is owned by a local resident who we have had a good working relationship with for over 30 years. The farm was extended by the owner in 2003 with no objections from local residents.

“Each complaint we receive is fully investigated, and when appropriate, action is taken, for example with the use of masking agents and refreshed manure to reduce odour.

“We’ve met on site with the farm owner and the Environment Agency on at least four occasions so far this year to check in on measures to mitigate noise and odour complaints.

Broadland MP Jerome Mayhew. Picture: Danielle BoodenBroadland MP Jerome Mayhew. Picture: Danielle Booden

“There is investment required of the owner but the consensus is that the residents will remain unhappy with the location of the site. As a result, we have given three crop notices to the owner in terms of our contractual obligations. This would mean that broiler chickens for slaughter would no longer be reared at the site as of February 2021.”

Residents have contacted their MP Jerome Mayhew, who said: “When I bicycled through the village there was a strong and unpleasant smell, I am meeting with the Environment Agency on October 2 to talk about the issues.”

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We understand the concerns of the local community and we are committed to ensuring that the company undertakes further improvements to reduce noise and odour levels.”

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