For 10 days recently there has been something of an agricultural atmosphere around the town and Rye News has received many complaints, questions and suggestions as to who or what was responsible.
It turns out that the farmer responsible, writing on the Rye News Facebook page, confirmed that he has been spreading chicken manure on fields on Rye Marsh (between Rye and Winchelsea). The prevailing wind, at this time of year, being westerly, is the reason that Rye would receive the benefit of the aroma wafting across the landscape.
The farmer’s actions, we understand, are entirely legal and, as he has himself said, fertilising fields in this way is natural, organic and better for both the ground and the environment as a whole than using artificial fertilisers.
Several correspondents to this paper’s Facebook page have commented that as we live in a rural community then we should expect to smell like a rural community – a sentiment echoed by our County Council representative, Keith Glazier.
The farmer’s admission of responsibility, was published on the Rye News Facebook page on Friday September 1. He said the manure would be “incorporated” in the soil within 24 hours and the smell should dissipate over the next 48 hours. But, on Thursday (as the paper goes to publication) there was still a faint whiff in the Western end of the town. It must also be mentioned that the smell didn’t just start at the time of the very honest admission on Facebook but had, in fact, been around since the beginning of the Bank Holiday weekend
The town, therefore, has endured the odour for nearly two weeks, to date, rather than just the few days estimated, and this included the busiest weekend of the year with Rye crowded with both residents and visitors for the holiday and the Jazz Festival. One visitor has given their impression of Rye as “a lovely little town, but very smelly” and several B&B owners have contacted us with concerns that this could affect future business.
We have quoted, above, the argument that as we live in a rural community, we should expect this sort of thing. But, others have maintained that responsibility is a two-way affair. Those – like many of our correspondents – who live in the town have a responsibility not to hamper the farmers’ efforts by trampling over their crops, leaving gates open or allowing dogs to worry their animals. Equally, they say, the farmers have a responsibility to those not part of the farming industry to ensure that their activities do not impinge on the rest of the community more than is necessary. In this instance, that would have meant clearing and “incorporating” the contents of chicken sheds after a major holiday weekend and one of great importance to the town’s economy, rather than during it.
Please note that the pictures shown here are generic, designed to illustrate this article and are not of any specific farm.
Photos: library images