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CONTROVERSIAL plans for a poultry unit near Llandeilo have been turned down again.

Carmarthenshire Council’s planning department said the proposal would unacceptably harm the Dinefwr Estate site of special scientific interest (SSSI), which is a mile away, due to increased ammonia emissions from the 16,000 free range hens.

Background ammonia concentrations at the SSSI, it said, already exceeded a “critical level” for the protection of lichens, bryophytes and their supporting habitat.

Planning officers said the application provided insufficient and inconsistent information about the management and disposal of manure and dirty water from the proposed unit, the depositing of phosphorous on the hens’ ranging area, and the extent of the drainage areas.

They said this also applied to the suitability of the water interception ditch proposed on the perimeter of the ranging area, and the type of foul drainage system for toilets planned as part of the project.

As such, the planning department said it could not assess the application’s environmental and ecological impacts or carry out an assessment of the impact of pollution and increased phosphate levels on the River Towy Special Area of Conservation.

The scheme to build the free range unit on land north of Pentrefelin, near Llandeilo, was submitted in 2020 by Terry Davies, of Llanfynydd.

The development comprised a 73m x 20m x 3m building – and two full-time and one part-time job would have been created. The farm already has a free range poultry unit, plus livestock.

A 200-page environmental statement on behalf of Mr Davies said the impacts of the proposal were generally insignificant, even without mitigation measures. In some areas, it said, mitigation measures – particularly around traffic and ecology – would provide a net benefit.

Objectors included the National Trust, which owns a large area of the Dinefwr Estate SSSI, and Butterfly Conservation Wales. The Woodland Trust said it objected unless it could be shown that the poultry unit would not detrimentally impact on ancient woodlands in the surrounding area.

Four years ago Carmarthenshire Council turned down plans by Mr Davies for a 32,000-hen unit. A similar scheme had been put forward, then withdrawn, prior to this.

Farmers’ groups in Wales have previously said that farmers were responding to a growing consumer demand for free range eggs and that they needed to be able to modernise and diversify their operations. Poultry units, they said, were also subject to strict planning controls.

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