Water run-off from a building site partially flooded a Glenrath poultry shed near Lauder, in the Scottish Borders on Wednesday (6 February), prompting a partial shed evacuation.

According to Lothian and Borders Fire Service, emergency services were dispatched after reports in the area of “a strange smell”.

Fearing a chemical leak, a 20-strong fire crew, as well as Scottish Water and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency attended the incident. But upon arrival they found water mixed with poultry litter to be the source of the smell.

A spokesman for the fire service said the water was contaminating a nearby river. “We stemmed the drains to prevent further contamination of surrounding land and water sources.”

Ian Campbell, of Glenrath Farms, said that water had run off a nearby development and had caused around 5cm of flooding in two sections of the free-range unit.

“Two pens were affected by the flooding, luckily all of the hens were up [perching] for the night,” he said.

“We diverted catchers to the site and took the hens in the flooded sections out as a precaution.”

The Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals was present, and was satisfied with the measures that had been taken, he added.

It is understood the Environment Agency is examining sewer capacity in the area.

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