A CONTROVERSIAL chicken farm is being forced to reduce the number of birds in its sheds for a second time in a bid to reduce the impact of its odour.

Residents who live near Newbridge Farm in East Huntspill have been complaining for a number of months about the smell coming from the business and have repeatedly urged the Environment Agency (EA) to take action.

On July 23, 2018 the EA issued a briefing note which revealed the number of birds on the site has been cut from 321,000 to 192,000, leaving one of its five sheds empty.

But residents have continued to kick up a stink about the smell and as a result the EA have asked the farm's owners, Hook 2 Sisters, to reduce the number of birds again.

Ian Stanbury, a resident who lives near the chicken farm, welcomed the news but said residents will continue to fight for the farm to close.

He said: "Until such time that the operator and site owner have to invest significant amounts of money to install filters and/or scrubbers to reduce the odour, the EA is getting them to reduce bird numbers to a point where the odour is deemed to be at an 'acceptable level’.

"This means that for the next crop cycle, only three sheds will be stocked.

"If the problem continues, the EA will get the operator to stock only two sheds in the following cycle (89,000 birds). If there is still a problem, then only one shed will be stocked.

"At some point, it will become uneconomical for Hook 2 Sisters to operate, which is when they stop or get their sister company, Amber Real Estate Investments, to install filters and/or scrubbers.

"If we are to stand any chance of winning the battle to eliminate the odour or reduce it to negligible levels, we must continue reporting the odour as accurately and as timely as possible.

"We know it’s a chore to make the call but please don’t leave it to your neighbour - the wind direction might not be affecting them.

"Our determination and persistence are paying off so...please don’t give up - it might not seem like it at times but we are making progress."

A spokesman for the Environment Agency, said they will be sending a briefing note to residents shortly to update them on the agency's efforts to reduce the odour at the farm and said they are continuing to work hard to address the issue.

"The Environment Agency is continuing to work with Hook 2 Sisters and review the results of the company’s independent odour monitoring," the spokesman said.

"We requested a review of the company’s odour management plan, which the company has done and they have proposed a reduction in bird numbers and a reduction in the number of sheds being stocked from four to three.

"Numerous techniques/changes have been trialled at Newbridge Farm in an attempt to reduce the odour.

"So far none of these have reduced odour to acceptable levels.

"Reducing the number of birds is a recognised technique for reducing odour.

"We will soon be sending out a briefing note to local residents, updating them on our efforts to reduce odour from the chicken farm."