Legal firm says residents near river Wye have ‘good prospect’ to bring civil claims against poultry farms in the area

By Gavin McEwan

A LEGAL firm says people living the river Wye catchment “have a good prospect” of bringing a civil claim against the area’s poultry farms and producers.

There are thought to be at least 20 million birds at any one time in the river Wye catchment across Herefordshire and Powys, while the largest poultry processor, Avara, processes some two million birds a week at its Hereford plants.

Now law firm Leigh Day says that, due in particular to the use of poultry manure as a fertiliser in the area, this high-intensity farming is badly affecting the water quality of the river, to which landowners and others have a right under common law.

Landowners who may have lost quality fishing and bathing in the stretch of the Wye that their land borders may have a potential nuisance claim against chicken producers, among other potential claims, the firm says.

Businesses, wildlife organisations and swimming, angling and water sports clubs may also have the right to use the watercourse and the right to receive water in its natural state, it adds.

The civil claim is being investigated by a team led by Leigh Day partner Oliver Holland.

“The work of dedicated researchers and conservationists has revealed the acute harm caused to the river, and as a result, to those who live in its catchment,” he said.

“We believe poultry producers have a case to answer for their role in bringing this deplorable situation about. We urge all those who think they may have been impacted by this urgent issue to contact us.”

Those who believe they have been affected in this way can contact Nicholas Smith at Leigh Day on or on 020 7650 1200.

Campaigning charity River Action is supporting the civil legal claim, in addition to separate legal action it is pursuing against the Environment Agency, which it says has failed to enforce its own rules intended to prevent pollution of the Wye from farming.

Its chairman and founder Charles Watson said: “It is our belief that a number of major agricultural processing companies, who have profited hugely from the rapid growth of intensive poultry production, should have been more than aware of the environmental damage their supply chains have inflicted on the river.”

Unlike  other news outlets, Carmarthenshire News Online does not receive massive advertising revenue or large grants. We thrive on reporting on local and national news for the people of Carmarthenshire and an extended online audience. We are  free from commercial or political influence and we report without fear, favour or prejudice. We hold those in power to account. We provide all the news for free, for everyone to read. We do need your help to continue. For as little as £1 donation you can contribute to keeping local democratic reporting alive. Your contribution will enable us to keep the news machine going and ensure the future of local news for Carmarthenshire. Every contribution is welcome and will have an impact on independent journalism. We thank you in advance. Please donate here: Support Carmarthenshire News Online

You cannot copy any content of this page

%d bloggers like this: