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Poultry farm in north of Usk given permission for wood burning heating system

The bio-mass boiler will be installed in this barn which housed the previous heating system (Pic: Monmouthshire County Council planning file)

A POULTRY farm has been given planning permission for a wood burning boiler that has replaced its former gas fired heating system. 

The bio-mass boiler at Trostrey Court Farm on Trostrey Common at Gwehelog, north of Usk, has already been in use at the 500 acre farm for around four months and the permission granted is for it to only burn “virgin wood”. 

The combined heat and power plant it has replaced, which burned LPG (liquid petroleum gas) to heat and cool the poultry sheds on the former dairy farm, was granted permission in 2007, but over the years its use changed to a larger plant that was unauthorised.  

However it wasn’t able to operate to its full capacity and was decommissioned, with various parts such as flues and vents from the roof of the existing building, as well as an external gas tank and coolers removed. 

The building, which is now enclosed, houses the bio-mass boiler which planning officer Phil Thomas said is a sustainable fuel and he said despite the planing papers saying recycled wood would also be burned a condition will ensure it can only use “virgin wood”. 

Local resident Lindsey Williams said she and others had formed a group Swipe to oppose the plans and were concerned about noise pollution and air quality. 

She said they had previously had to go to court to “force” Monmouthshire County Council to take enforcement action over the operation of the plant.

She said they didn’t believe the council’s environmental health department had made robust enough checks on the noise from the plant and that it was agreed a report submitted by the applicants wasn’t to the British Standard. 

Environmental health officer Mary Pask said the report didn’t have to be to that standard and that she was able to measure the impact as the the plant is already operating and there was no objection from the department on air quality grounds. 

Llanfoist Labour councillor Ben Callard said he was “really disappointed” a retrospective application was before the committee and said he’d rather see an application for solar power as “try as hard as we might burning things is never sustainable.” 

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There are already three heavy goods vehicles visiting the farm every day due to the poultry sheds but the deliveries of wood will only add an extra two a week. 

Usk independent councillor Meirion Thomas asked is the wood would be “locally sourced” and Mr Thomas replied: “Not necessarily locally sourced but it costs more to transport it from Scotland than Powys for instance.”