THE foul smell coming from a chicken farm is so unpleasant four-year-old Elise Stanbury can no longer play on a swing in her garden, her family says.

A number of East Huntspill residents gathered outside Newbridge Farm on Thursday (July 26) to highlight the impact the smell is having on their day-to-day lives.

The number of the birds on the site has been cut from 321,000 to 192,000, leaving one of its five sheds empty, following pressure from the Environment Agency.

But Ian Stanbury, a resident who lives near the chicken farm, said the measures put in place have done little to stop the odour and claims residents in Burnham-on-Sea can sometimes smell it there.

“The operator has reduced the number of birds but we are still getting the odour issues,” Mr Stanbury said.

“It has been particularly bad in the hot weather – the birds are only half way through their crop cycle and we have had to close our windows because the smell is so bad.

“I want the farm to close. It is not good living in the shadow of this establishment.”

Mr Stanbury and his wife, Julia, are among residents who are campaigning against the poultry farming units through a group called ‘Fowl Play at East Huntspill.’

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Julia said: “My granddaughter Elise, four, can no longer play on her swing in the garden when the odour hits. 

“She comes inside as she feels like she will throw up.”

Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger agreed to meet the concerned residents and see if there was some compromise that could be reached.

“This sort of thing is very difficult. I do not want to see a business close but we cannot have residents living as prisoners in their own homes,” he said.

In a briefing note, the Environment Agency said it will be asking the operator to organise another independent survey for Autumn this year.

“Our officers will continue to visit the site when significant odour is reported and will consider the need to carry out further routine monitoring,” the note said.

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“If the current reduced stocking level continues to result in reduced odour complaints over a number of crop cycles we may look to vary the current environmental permit, so that the operator is able to keep no more than 192,000 birds on site across four sheds.

“If the permit is varied this would mean a permanent reduction in bird numbers from the 312,500 across five sheds allowed by the existing permit.” 

Hook 2 Sisters Ltd, which runs the site, has been approached for a comment.