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Council approves chicken farm at Puni

Environment Waikato and Franklin District Council have granted resource consents for a large broiler chicken farming operation on a rural property at Puni, south east of Pukekohe.

B and M Quigley intend to build a 180,000 bird four shed chicken facility on a farm property in Massey Road currently used for cropping. The applicants have a contract to operate two sheds now and another two in two years’ time. The application attracted nine submissions to Franklin District Council and seven to Environment Waikato from neighbours.

Each shed will include computer controlled tunnel ventilation, with each shed housing up to 45,000 birds for a 45 day growing cycle. There will be about six cycles a year, with shed wash down water irrigated onto pasture.

Submitters expressed concern for the potential of objectionable odour and dust effects, which they said, would be inadequately controlled by the applicant’s measures. The odours were likely to be continuous for significant periods once all four sheds were operating. Submitters were also concerned about additional heavy traffic on Massey Rd, erosion from stormwater, noise, and contamination of water supplies from poultry dust.

Granting the application, the Hearing Committee said submitters had gone to significant effort in preparing their evidence, reflecting their level of concern about the proposal.

It was accepted that at certain times broiler chicken sheds would emit odours beyond the boundary and the onus was on the applicant to ensure they were not objectionable. In a rural environment there was a higher threshold of what could be considered objectionable, and buffer distances greater than 400m were sufficient to avoid nuisance odour, provided high standards were maintained.

The Committee said it was important that the locality was rural and that there were many other odour sources in the area, including dairy effluent irrigation, silage feeding and onion growing, so the proposed farm was unlikely to significantly change existing air quality.

It was satisfied that the rural community would not suffer any significant loss of amenity values as a result of the farm being established and any effects would be no more than minor.

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