Poultry breeders behind a controversial plan for a pedigree chicken farm in Perthshire are seeking an environmental permit to begin production.
Perth and Kinross Council has approved the £6 million proposal lodged by German firm Lohmann Tierzucht UK Limited, which will see up to 43,500 pedigree-laying birds being accommodated at Perthshire Breeding Farm at Tullybelton Wood near Bankfoot.
The developers intend to build three poultry production houses to accommodate the chickens.
Lohmann Tierzucht UK Limited has claimed the poultry development could bring “substantial” benefits to the area and stressed new technology would limit any potential odour problems. They have now applied to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to get a pollution prevention control (PPC) permit, which is required to operate such a site.
Several local residents have contacted John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North, to express their concerns about possible environmental and health implications.
Mr Swinney said: “I have been approached by constituents in the area who have raised a number of concerns in relation to this application. My constituents are seeking substantial reassurance regarding environmental and health issues.
“I have asked SEPA to ensure that they subject the application for a pollution prevention and control licence to a very detailed level of scrutiny that takes into account the concerns that have been raised by my constituents.
“It is vital that these issues are properly and fully addressed.”
In order to have the PPC permit granted, SEPA will consider a host of issues including slurry and manure storage, odour management, noise management, containment of contaminated water, general management of the site, site condition prior to the permit being granted and decommissioning.
SEPA unit manager, Stephen Field, said: “Our technical specialists are now conducting a full review to assess the proposed environmental controls.
“An important part of the application process for all sites such as this is the opportunity for members of the local community to view the application and have their say.
“This ensures that local knowledge can be taken into account and concerns understood, and means that communities have a better understanding what is happening at permitted sites near them.”
The plan was passed by council chiefs in December last year despite concerns from neighbouring residents and criticism from a former chief medical officer for Scotland and surgeon to the Queen.
Sir David Carter told a council committee: “I have specific concerns about the threat of developing what is known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis – this is a group of inflammatory lung conditions, caused by exposure to antigen containing dust. This is not a trivial condition.”
Lohmann Tierzucht UK Limited were contacted but did not provide a comment on the matter.