The Impact of the Intensive Poultry Industry on Human Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Report
- Meeting of Health, Care and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, Friday 25 November 2022 9.00 am (Item 29.)
- View the background to item 29.
To report the outcomes and recommendations of the Task and Finish Group on ‘The Impact of the Intensive Poultry Industry on Human Health and Wellbeing'. The committee is invited to consider the outcomes from the task and finish group and to decide if the report and recommendations adopted and submitted to the Cabinet.
Further to the draft report debated in detail by the committee at its meeting on 22 July 2022 (minute 8 of 2022/23 refers), the committee considered a further iteration of the task and finish group report.
Councillor Felicity Norman, chairperson of the task and finish group, advised that the report had been updated to reflect comments made during the previous discussion and to tighten some of the wording used in the document. Members, officers and stakeholders involved in the preparation of the report were thanked for their input. Councillor Norman reported that the task and finish group had not found evidence of harmful impact from the intensive poultry industry on human health, commented on the importance of ‘One Health’ (i.e. the interlinking of the health of people, animals and the environment), noted that anecdotal evidence indicated that some people had anxieties and concerns, and emphasised the need for more research and evidence.
The committee discussed the document, the principal points included:
i. With reference made to a recent report by the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics and World Animal Protection (link to the report) and a related response by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance (link to the response), the Chairperson noted that this was a live topic and there was a need for more data and better understanding.
ii. Attention was drawn to Recommendation 5 (Pollution Monitoring and Abatement Equipment and Techniques) and the Chairperson commented that local testing in terms of modelling would be beneficial to the planning application process.
The Head of Public Protection advised that no monitoring of dust levels was required by the Environment Agency currently and it was understood that the purpose of the recommendation was to invite government to consider best available techniques now available.
The Chairperson suggested that the council should work with the industry on a voluntary basis on the use of monitoring equipment to sense-check modelling reports.
iii. With reference made to paragraphs 30-32, a committee member welcomed the suggestions about the involvement of local public health bodies in the development of a ‘Health Impact in Planning’ Supplementary Planning Document and for all planning applications to be screened for suitability for health impact assessments.
The Public Health Consultant welcomed the report and advised that preliminary work was being undertaken on a toolkit for conducting a health impact assessment.
iv. A committee member commented on the need to encourage the upgrading / retrofitting of existing intensive poultry units to the best available techniques. The Chairperson suggested that an adjustment to Recommendation 5 to reference both existing and new intensive poultry units explicitly.
v. In response to a query from the Head of Public Protection about Recommendation 8 (Intensive Poultry Farming Myth Busting), the Chairperson considered that the recommendation anticipated the preparation of a brief summary of current knowledge, with links to further resources, and suggested adjustments to the recommendation.
The Vice-Chairperson acknowledged the importance of addressing common misconceptions and offered to assist in this regard.
With input from the Interim Statutory Scrutiny Officer, the resolution below was agreed by the committee. The Chairperson thanked all those involved in the preparation of the report, including the members of the public who had come forward to share their experiences.
a) The report and recommendations on ‘The Impact of the Intensive Poultry Industry on Human Health and Wellbeing’ be adopted, subject to:
i. the amendment of Recommendation 5 to read ‘That Herefordshire Council lobby Defra about the need for the Environment Agency to review and implement the advice and guidance on the best available techniques now available for existing and new Intensive Poultry Units pollution monitoring and abatement and equipment for both ammonia and particulates both within the county and nationally.’
the amendment of Recommendation 8 to read ‘That a
fact checking, myth-busting summary document
tackling common misconceptions about common public health
, such as anti-microbial resistance and the use of
antibiotics in intensive poultry farming be
iii. the inclusion of an additional recommendation ‘That the council work with the industry on the assessment of dust and odour emitted near intensive poultry units to assess and verify the modelling of emissions is confirmed from experience’; and
b) The report be referred to Cabinet for consideration and Executive Response.
- The Impact of the Intensive Poultry Industry on Human Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Report, item 29. PDF 212 KB
- Appendix A - The Impact of the Intensive Poultry Industry on Human Health and Wellbeing scrutiny report, November 2022, item 29. PDF 2 MB