Environment Waikato and the South Waikato District Council have granted air discharge and land use consents to expand a broiler chicken farm.
The South Waikato District Council also granted dispensation to rural site coverage and front yard requirements, but declined dispensation to reduce side and rear yard requirements in Nicholson Road, Tirau.
T and F Collings currently operate two broiler sheds and applied to the District Council for a land use consent to erect two additional broiler sheds encroaching the front, side and rear yard requirements of South Waikato’s Operative District Plan. They applied to Environment Waikato to discharge contaminants to air from the expanded operation, totalling about 142,000 birds during each rearing cycle. The applications attracted 12 submissions to South Waikato District Council, and 10 to Environment Waikato.
The two existing broiler sheds house approximately 52,000 birds, and the older of the two has operated for about 22 years. Each of the two new sheds will house about 45,000 birds next to the existing sheds.
The applicants said that many of the potentially affected parties next to the property had given consent for the expansion. The new sheds would be built to industry specifications, and measures would be implemented to ensure that the expanded operation did not affect neighbours, including additional screen plantings, they said.
The closest immediateneighbour said that he occasionally detected odour from the existing sheds, but it was not intense and usually cleared rapidly. The odour was less offensive than other typical rural odours.
Other neighbours said the proposed sheds would inevitably produce unpleasant odour that was not part of the rural environment. They were also concerned about the effect of odour and dust from trucks leaving sites with loads of chicken litter and effects on landscape values. The site could not be considered in isolation from other nearby broiler chicken operations.
They were concerned about the placement of the sheds on productive soil, resulting in ‘fragmentation’ of other rural land uses, and the effects of noise, dust, odour and truck movements and the loss of rural amenity values.
South Waikato District Council staff recommended granting the land use application, but declining the side and rear dispensations. Environment Waikato staff recommended that the air discharge consent be granted subject to conditions.
The Committee said it acknowledged that chicken broiler facilities in general had the potential to create nuisance dust and odour effects, particularly during the birds’ latter growth stages and when the sheds were cleaned out. Appropriate site management, screening, location and shed construction were required to keep these effects at acceptable levels.
Recent improvements in industry feed types had resulted in a drop in odour complaints to Environment Waikato across the Region.
It said there were many other sources of odour in the rural zone, including dairy shed effluent irrigation, silage feeding and the operation of cowsheds or feedpads, all of which were permitted activities. Odours from the expanded operation would be unlikely to significantly change, or to have a significant cumulative effect on the existing air quality.