The High Court in Cardiff has refused permission to proceed with a legal challenge against Powys County Council for granting planning permission to double the size of an industrial poultry unit near Builth Wells in the river Wye catchment from 90,000 birds to 180,000.

Angling group Fish Legal wanted to block the expansion of the poultry unit in the River Wye catchment has failed in its legal challenge in the High Court.

Farmers Weekly reported that the group,, which represents anglers on environmental issues, challenged the council’s planning decision to allow the poultry farm near Builth Wells, Powys.

It claimed that the council had failed to consider the impact on the local environment of additional poultry manure being spread as digestate.

But the High Court in Cardiff refused permission for Fish Legal to proceed with its challenge at a hearing.

Justin Neal, solicitor for Fish Legal, said the group was considering an appeal.

“We maintain that Powys County Council has a duty to assess the direct and indirect effects of these intensive units, which would include the impact of spreading of the digestate generated from poultry manure from the site, which can be washed into the river,” he told Farmers Weekly.

“None of this was taken into consideration,” Mr Neal insisted.

But a spokesperson for Powys County Council said: “The council is aware of the High Court decision to refuse the application for a judicial review into this planning decision.

“The planning application was processed and approved correctly and in line with the council’s planning policies.

“We will now be seeking to recover the costs and expenses ordered by the court to be paid to the council.”

The Wye has been beset by pollution rpoblems in recent years, with many campaugners blaming intensive poultry farming upriver for saturating the fields with phosphate and then polluting the river.

Farmers in Herefordshire set out a plan to reduce phosphate levels in the Wye and bring the catchment back into balance last year.

In July, a new cross-border working group of agencies, local authorities and other key parties also came together to try and tackle river Wye pollution, putting forward a five-year plan.

The group is the initiative of South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman, whose constituency includes Ross-on-Wye and Symonds Yat West.

Alos present were North Herefordshire MP Sir Bill Wiggin, and representatives of the Environment Agency, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, OFWAT, Welsh Water, the Nutrient Management Board and Monmouthshire, Herefordshire and Powys councils.