A FARMER has defended the spreading of chicken manure which has caused a stink.
On Friday, Flintshire Council issued a notice ordering Stuart Banks, of Wood Farm on Deeside Lane, Sealand, to stop spreading the smelly fertiliser close to houses.
Last week the Leader told of angry residents in the area complaining the smell was so bad it made them physically sick.
But yesterday Mr Banks says he is just following good practice and was abiding by an European Union (EU) directive by using chicken manure to spread on his crops.
He said he had not spread the muck close to houses since Friday but insisted he was just doing what he did every year.
“I’ve been using chicken manure for the last 20 years and I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life,” he said.
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about. When you live in a rural community, you have to put up with it.”
He said the European Parliament wanted farmers to use organic fertilisers to reduce their carbon footprint and was “pushing it on us more and more”.
“They want us to use organic fertiliser to reduce the use of nitrogenous fertilisers,” he said.
“I’m just following EU law. If people have got an issue with that, perhaps they should take it up with the EU.”
Other farmers in the area use cow manure, he said, because it came as a by-product from their own herds.
But as Mr Banks does not have his own livestock, he bought his chicken manure fertiliser in. He said he chose chicken manure because of its quality in helping crops grow.
“It’s good soil practice,” he said.
“It’s more diluted and has bulk and it’s cheaper to spread.”
Mr Banks said it would not be “economically viable” to use cow manure on his farm, which spans more than 2,000 acres.
Flintshire Council’s abatement order was issued on Friday in an attempt to control the smell.
Ian Vaughan-Evans, the local authority’s interim head of public protection, said: “An abatement notice was served on W T Banks & Co (Farming) Ltd at their premises at Wood Farm on Friday afternoon.
“The notice seeks to stop the spreading of poultry manure close to houses and also to prevent it recurring in the future.
“Whilst there is a Defra guidance document Protecting our Water, Soil and Air: a code of good agricultural practice for farmers, growers and land managers which allows such material to be spread on land, the guidance also includes ‘good practice’ advice to minimise such odours.
“It is this principle that we are attempting to control in this instance.”
Mr Banks said the smell may have seemed worse this year because of the drier weather making the manure soak less quickly into the ground.
He added that yesterday was the last day he would be spreading until he started again in the winter or spring for his potato crop.