‘WE have been suffering from the odour nuisance for over three years now and our patience has expired.’

Those are the words of Julia Stanbury from Fowl Play in East Huntspill who said residents are still being affected by ‘unacceptable’ levels of odour from Newbridge Farm three years after they launched a campaign for action to be taken to reduce odour at the farm.

Mrs Stanbury says despite the Environment Agency’s (EA) best efforts to reduce bird numbers from 312,500 birds to 133,500 birds in March 2019, the farm is still kicking up a stink and there has been ‘no real sign of a substantial and positive change to the situation.’

She said: “We are experiencing a strong sense of déjà vu because nothing has really changed since the operator, Hook 2 Sisters (H2S), agreed to keep the bird numbers to a maximum of 133,500 in March last year.

“H2S is still being allowed by the EA to try different, non-effective approaches, like the deodorising system, but we are still enduring and reporting unacceptable levels of odour with no real sign of a substantial and positive change to the situation.

“Although the EA thanks us again in the briefing for our patience, we have been suffering from the odour nuisance for over three years now and our patience has expired.”

Mrs Stanbury said she met with representatives from the EA last week to express her disappointment about their lack of action to tackle the issue and to press for legal action to be taken against Hook 2 Sisters.

She said there has been a decrease in the number of odour complaints from residents to the EA but this could be due to lower temperatures, weather patterns over winter taking the odour away and residents going outdoors less during winter.

“Some people have become weary of reporting the odour because the lack of any formal action by the EA to reduce or stop the odour nuisance has resulted in a loss in faith and trust that something is actually being done to address the situation,” Mrs Stanbury said.

“We face an uphill battle to re-invigorate our campaign and maintain support.

“This is because the locals in the immediate area surrounding Newbridge Farm have been so successful in getting the number of birds reduced through their complaints, the odour no longer seems to be adversely affecting the more densely populated parts of East Huntspill.

“We believe this also contributes to the overall lower number of complaints made to the EA.

“As a result of this and the prolonged planning appeal process for the adverse visual impact of the wrong roof material, we appear to have lost the little support we had from the wider community in the area – despite them benefitting from our efforts.”

In a briefing note which was sent out to residents a spokesperson for the Environment Agency said Hook 2 Sisters will continue to continue to restock birds at reduced levels of 133,500 birds over three sheds.

The EA said they will also review the results from H2S’s independent odour monitoring and compare them to previous odour monitoring carried out on the site.

“We will monitor the site more closely and, where resources allow, will attend site to substantiate odour complaints,” the spokesperson said.

“We are reviewing our ways of working to see if we can provide more resource to attend and substantiate odour complaints.

“We would urge local residents to report accurate odour issues to us as soon as these occur.”

A Hook 2 Sisters spokesperson said it will continue to work with residents to address the issue.

“We note the recent reduction of issues raised with the Environment Agency by local residents, and we will continue to work closely with EA, as we have done throughout, on solutions to remedy the situation,” the spokesperson said.