Villagers Stunned At Government Decision on Egg Farm

SCOTLAND - Residents from three villages in the Scottish Borders were stunned to learn of the Scottish Government Planning Directorate decision to give the go-ahead to what will be the largest free-range egg production development in Europe.
calendar icon 12 March 2008
clock icon 3 minute read
The villagers, from Romanno Bridge, Mountaincross and Blyth Bridge, formed the Blythbank Action Group almost four years ago as a result of major concerns on the impact of the unprecedented development submitted by Glenrath Farms Ltd.

Doreen Graham, BBAG Chair commented: "In January, the planning application was passed by Scottish Borders Council with 23 conditions. We had hoped the Scottish Government requirement to assess the application would have resulted in a Reporter being appointed to thoroughly evaluate the many complexities of the application. "The Group raised significant funds to commission specialist reports from experts on landscape, pollution and ground water management. The reports indicated that the cumulative effects of years of chicken manure and the huge area or hard-landscaping were likely to create major problems for the local communities and more long term problems for the sensitive ecology of the River Tweed."

An earlier planning application allowed Glenrath Farms Ltd to construct the first of their eleven shed development on the Blythbank site. Each shed will be one-tenth of a mile in length and will have the capacity to house around 40,000 birds.

Graham continued: "No risk assessments were carried out regarding potential flooding or on the health and economic effects of an Avian 'Flu outbreak. With two well used Rights of Way crossing the site and the water supply for the City of Edinburgh coming from ground water seeping into the Talla Aqueduct, bio-security concerns remain.

"There are major concerns over the long-term viability of the River Tweed. In the *Chesapeake Bay area of the United States the eventual cumulative effects of poultry farming have had a disastrous effect on fishing.

"Only time will tell if our concerns are justified, but that would indeed be a pyrrhic victory; we would have preferred to have had those fears examined and allayed."
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