Residents express concerns over Scottish chicken farm

Concerns have reportedly been raised by residents living close to the site of a controversial £6m chicken breeding farm in Bankfoot, approved by Perth & Kinross Council.

German firm Lohmann Tierzucht is building three poultry houses that accommodate 43,500 pedigree laying chickens in Tullybelton Wood, Bankfoot. Once built, the farm should create 12 jobs.

However, Scottish newspaper The Courier reported that residents who live close to the site of the farm are concerned about the potential leakage of hazardous materials, ammonia emissions, noise pollution and the impact on wildlife habitats.

In response, a spokesperson from Bidwells, the managing agents for Lohmann Tierzucht, said:

“We are aware of the concerns raised by some members of the Bankfoot community but can confirm that we have, and continue to, work closely with SEPA and other authorities to ensure the facility is progressing within the required criteria. Indeed, our client has gone above and beyond some of the stipulated statutory requirements to ensure best practice.

“The farm has no local discharges other than ventilation. Those discharges which need to be neutralised  are sealed and taken off-site in tankers. This procedure exceeds all current industry standards.

“The facility is a major investment for our client and we hope will be regarded by all as a positive move in providing employment within rural Perthshire.”

Neither Perth & Kinross Council nor Lohmann Tierzucht could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

This is what we know about the controversial poultry farm so far, based on public records.

Lohmann Tierzucht will run the farm in Scotland. The north German business claims to be the world’s largest layer breeders and applied for planning permission from the Scottish council back in the summer of 2016.

At the time, it said it wanted to build a farm in Scotland to diversify its spread of breeding stock after highly damaging outbreaks of avian influenza in Germany, most recently in 2016 and 2017.

The German outfit’s property consultant, Bidwells, submitted a planning statement to Perth & Kinross Council. The 39-page report tackles common issues meat companies face when applying for planning permission, notably noise and environmental concern.

The report stated the farm would put in place “appropriate measures for preventing and minimising fugitive emissions”.  It added a study from the Scottish Agriculture Collage (SAC) confirmed there would be no “concern” with odour emissions for Bankfoot residents.

However, a separate ecological impact assessment, submitted to Perth & Kinross Council, found that up to 2.25 hectares of conifer trees supporting red squirrel habits would be lost, affecting Scotland’s red squirrel species.

When deciding to approve or revoke planning permission, Scottish government will only allow the destruction of wildlife habits if the project in question contributed to “social, economic or environmental benefit”.

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