Skip to main content

Poultry Sheds

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 17 December 2015

Decisions on the location of agricultural buildings are a matter for the relevant local authority, which will assess each application on its merits taking into account its local plan. In addition to planning permission, an environmental permit is required for intensive poultry farms, and the Environment Agency will consider impacts such as noise and odour. However, through our food enterprise zones, which we are currently piloting, we are seeking to remove some of the barriers and make it easier for food enterprises to co-locate in the same geographic areas.

I am grateful to the Minister for his comprehensive answer. He will of course be aware that the Animal Welfare (Transport) (England) Order 2006 requires operators to minimise the journey time for animals—rightly so—and his departmental guidance reflects that. Does he agree that that should be a material consideration in planning terms to ensure that, in modern animal husbandry, we minimise the distance that animals have to travel to abattoirs?

I understand the point that my hon. Friend makes. As he pointed out, there are robust regulations in place at both a European and a UK level, which specify, for instance, minimum journey times and rest times, and set-down requirements for the lorries carrying out that transport. It is not always possible to co-locate factories close to where poultry are because often the investment requires a large number of poultry farms supplying one abattoir.