Response 145204011

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Seeking your views

4. Please provide your comments on the environmental permit application received from Newcome-Baker Farms Limited

Please provide your comments on the environmental permit application received from Newcome-Baker Farms Limited (Required)
Proposed Intensive Poultry Unit: Land at Whin Close, Docking Road, Sedgeford, Norfolk As a resident of Sedgeford for over forty years living beside the Heacham River only 2000 metres from the proposed site I am extremely concerned over the effect the poultry unit may have on the local area. My main concerns centre around the possible contamination of the ground water aquifer and the Heacham River by effluent from the site and the almost certain odour problems when the sheds are cleaned out. Contamination of Ground Water & Heacham River The environmental setting submitted by the applicant admits that the nearest watercourse is the Heacham River due south of the site and that land drainage from surrounding fields ultimately ends here with ditches directing the surrounding field drainage network to the river. There are also a number of boreholes in the area that are essential for the supply of drinking water to local villages including Hunstanton and Heacham. The risk assessment included in the submission acknowledges that pollution of water courses leading to the poisoning of flora and fauna is possible but the risk is not significant if managed carefully. It appears that the risk will be minimised by the careful monitoring of the cleaning-out operation and stopping it if necessary. However I am seriously concerned that this will happen. Indeed the environmental submission is contradictory in a number of areas relating to the wash-down/cleaning facilities. The introductory note in the Supporting Documents states that the below ground dirty water catchment tank will have a maximum storage capacity of 43,000litres but the Site Plan shows 48,000 litres. Which is correct? Furthermore the clean & dirty water disposal procedure states that over a single day the volume of water needing to be temporarily stored will be 60 cu. metres (13,000 gallons). This equates to 59,000 litres when the maximum capacity of the tank is 43,000 litres or 48,000 litres, a shortfall of 16,000 litres at worst. I am sure that the applicant would say that the discrepancies are unimportant typos but the serious point is that if the submission cannot get this correct how can we be confident that the procedures would be followed and cleaning out stopped when a tight timeline is to be met. Once ground water contamination has taken place and the river is polluted all the work carried out in recent years to ensure the river is clean will have been totally nugatory and will take years to put right. I would therefore request that you consider carefully whether the proposal meets the necessary criteria to ensure the safe collection and removal of dirty water from the site and thus prevents the possibility of the contamination of ground water and the Heacham River. Odour Problems The applicant agrees in his submission that releases from the installation may include the release of ammonia and dust to the air and that the clearing out of the sheds that will take place over a three day period will be the most critical time when releases are likely to take place. The submission states that as the litter will be scraped into a large heap in each of the sheds creating a hazard for operators working in the buildings the ventilation system will be run at the maximum level during this period to remove dust and ammonia. Where will this dust and ammonia go? The various risk assessments only acknowledge problems within 400 metres of the site. This is frankly extremely unlikely. The emissions are simply not going to disappear after 400 metres. Recent years have seen wind speeds in Sedgeford range from an average figure of 10mph in July to a maximum of 70mph in January. While the higher figure would soon see emissions be dispersed the lower and more common figure would be high enough to move the emissions to local populated areas and for them to remain for some time. This would be very restricting for residents particularly during warmer summers. As Sedgeford and the surrounding area depend heavily on tourism I would request that the clearing out operation at the proposed unit is not permitted to take place over the period Fridays to Sundays inclusive to allow both visitors and residents the opportunity to enjoy the area free from dust and foul odours. Consideration should also be given to further restrictions being imposed should we have a long hot summer similar to that of 1976. In such a situation the use of vast amounts of water for the clearing out process would be extremely wasteful and the likelihood of odour emissions would be high. Conclusion I appreciate that planning permission has been granted for the proposed unit but I consider it important for local residents and visitors to the area that the unit does not unnecessarily interfere with the enjoyment of what is a beautiful part of the country. I would therefore ask that you take into account my comments when you consider the permit application. Yours Sincerely Redacted text