Moy Park convicted for environmental breaches

A poultry farm has been convicted of two charges of breaching its environmental permit conditions following complaints of nausea and depression caused by bad odours from nearby residents.

The Environment Agency received 94 complaints about the unit in Kirkby on Bain, Woodhall Spa, between July 2008 and September 2011, Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard.

Moy Park, the company responsible for the site, was fined £10,000 for two charges of breaching its permit, and ordered to pay costs of £42,500.

The Environment Agency, which brought the case, said that numerous letters were exchanged notifying the company of problems with odours and highlighting the need to make changes, and EA staff had repeatedly visited the site and complainants’ houses, reporting varying levels of odour.

The court also heard that Moy Park had declined voluntary interview under caution with EA officers, so on 5 February 2010 two employees were required to answer questions under the EA’s statutory powers under the Environment Act 1995. Both said they occasionally monitored odours but did not keep records.

Since February 2011, Moy Park had reduced the number of birds at the site, and that had marginally improved the smell, the court was told.

District Judge Stobart said that Moy Park had made a genuine attempt to find a solution. But for economic reasons Moy Park did not take this step initially. He said they had preferred to try to mask the smell while maximising profit.

A spokesman for the firm said: “We are disappointed by this ruling, which relates to historical events from 2009 and 2011. We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and strive to be a good neighbour. We believe we have taken all appropriate measures to mitigate potential odours at Heale Farm.

“We have repeatedly asked the Environment Agency for advice and guidance on what further measures they would like to see us employ, but none have been provided.”

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