MORE than 250 odour complaints have been made about the foul smell coming from an East Huntspill chicken farm since 2017, new figures have revealed.

Figures obtained in a Freedom of Information request by Ian Stanbury show between March 21, 2017 and August 9, 2018 292 calls were made to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline for Newbridge Farm.

Of those calls, 281 were odour complaints and 11 were noise complaints.

In addition, the average number of calls per month to the agency’s incident hotline increased by 52 per cent from 14.3 in 2017 to 21. 7 in 2018.

Mr Stanbury and his wife, Julia, set up a petition calling for the farm to be closed down and are among residents who are campaigning against the poultry farming units through a group called ‘Fowl Play at East Huntspill.’

“We are encouraged by the rise in the number of reported incidents but unfortunately there are not as many at the highest levels of odour as there were last year,” Mr Stanbury said.

“This is because there are no longer any birds in shed five but the smell is still bad.

“The last set of figures are particularly satisfying because they show that our campaign is working and more complaints are being made.

“But we cannot stop campaigning, the farm just isn’t suitable, it needs to go.”

Mr Stanbury said more than 2,200 have signed the couple’s petition to close the farm and they will be submitting it to object to plans to retain five warehouses with grey cladding used to house poultry and erect new hedges to reduce the visual impact.

“We have had a bit of a spike in the last week, more people have been signing the petition but we still need more signatures,” Mr Stanbury said.

“Every person who signs the petition will be registered as objecting to the plan.

“The deadline for comments on the application has been extended until October 11and we are hoping to get up to 2,500 signatures.”

A Hook 2 Sisters spokesman said: “We have worked extremely hard to address this issue and continue to work very closely with the Environment Agency to monitor the situation.

“We will always try to remedy any outstanding issues brought to our attention by the appropriate authorities.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “We have attended Newbridge Farm on numerous occasions to ascertain the level of odour from the poultry farm.

“Officers have not substantiated odour on every visit, and on some occasions, reports have been made several hours, or the day after odour was experienced by complainants, making it impossible to substantiate the complaint.

“We are working with the operator to try and resolve the odour problem.

In the meantime people should report unacceptable persistent odour promptly via 0800 807060.