CHANGES to farming legislation in Wales mean that plans for a slurry pond at a farm in Powys could be the first of many.

Among the objections to the storage facility, described as an 'open sewar', was a claim it could deter the National Eistedd from returning to Meifod which last hosted the festival in 2015.

The application for an earth banked slurry lagoon and associated works by the Williams family of Newbridge Farm, near Meifod returned to Powys County Council’s planning committee on Thursday, July 7.

Regulations introduced last year in Wales mean farms need to have somewhere to store slurry for five months. Farmers fought an unsuccessful legal challenge against the regulations which the Welsh Government said are intended to protect rivers and water courses from agricultural pollution.

The 27m by 23m lagoon, which would be 4.6metres deep, is close to a very historic part of Powys, Mathrafal – once the medieval capital of the Kingdom of Powys.

It is also near to both the Banwy and Vyrnwy rivers and also a field where Wales’ largest cultural festival, the National Eisteddfod has been held.

Objector, Mark Jones said: “What is proposed will be a detriment to the tourist sector and will be of no use to us as we seek to periodically host the National Eisteddfod which brings 115,000 visitors to Maldwyn and the Meifod valley.

The National Wales: The National Eisteddfod in Builth Wells in 2018.The National Eisteddfod in Builth Wells in 2018.

“The eisteddfod site is only 400 metres away from the proposed lagoon."

He worried that slurry from the lagoon could also contaminate the water supply of the area.

Christine Jones who also spoked against the application asked councillors if any of them would like to live near what is “actually an open sewer”.

The applicant’s agent Gary Owen said: “We have the new legislation that’s being imposed whereby farmers are going to have to provide five months storage for slurry generated on their farm by August 2024.

“It’s as good a site as we can find on the farm, there are difficulties as there are water courses and an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) we’re in a flood plain and there are public footpaths.

“We’re forced by the legislation to install it.”

Cllr Gareth D Jones said: “It’s inevitable to meet the regulations that farmers are going to have to build lagoons.

The National Wales: Cllr Gareth JonesCllr Gareth Jones

“I don’t think the applicant could have done much more to meet requirements.”

Cllr Jones added that he was willing to propose putting the recommendation of approval to a vote.

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Cllr Gwynfor Thomas added: “This isn’t an ideal scenario for the farm.

“I’m mindful of the fact that the agent said they have looked at all other alternatives and listed reasons why they can’s site it in any other place.

“On the basis of that it’s essential to help the farm comply with legislation, I don’t feel we have any other choice than to support the officer’s recommendation.”

Cllr Thomas seconded the proposal to go to a vote.

The vote in favour of the application was unanimous.

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