Walkers Crisps potato farm reveals environmental plans

A farm that grows potatoes for Walkers Crisps has announced its plans to build a reservoir to help combat the effects of climate change.

Walkers Crisps potato farm reveals plans to tackle climate change  

The new facility on Oaklands Farm in Pitchford, Condover, would provide “long-term water security” to support the business’ current operations. 

The Shropshire farm currently grows more than 23,000 tonnes of potatoes for Walkers Crisps, 4,000 tonnes of potatoes for Kettle Foods, as well as a range of cereals and other crops across 4,000 acres of agricultural farmland. 

The reservoir would be around 100 metres long and 70 metres wide, bringing “minimal ecological interest”. Plans submitted to Shropshire Council were found not to need prior approval. 

The planning application reads that the reservoir would fill “naturally through the collection of rainwater” and “pumping from existing sources”. 

Hidden from public view 

The document also explains that the harvested water would be used as an irrigation reserve, which is required due to the unpredictable weather conditions, including droughts, experienced in recent years.

The reservoir would be constructed using “a cut and fill exercise” with excavated soil moved and used as fill material for the reservoir embankments. Any surplus soil would be placed in the embankment slopes to the lower sides. Topsoil is then re-laid over the embankments of the reservoir and sown with an appropriate grassland or wildflower seed mix. 

The site is located away from public land or highways, and there are no public footpaths nearby. This means that the reservoir would be hidden from “public views”.  

Applicant’s commitment to protect environment 

The application also reads: “In keeping with the applicant’s commitment to farm to a high environmental standard, as part of the project they propose to restore a pond which was originally adjacent to the earlier approved application site to improve the current habitat potential.” 

Applicant J R O Griffiths added that to align with Walkers Crisps’ efforts to encourage environmental enhancements, the company is aiming for a holistic management approach, trialling zero planting methods and soil improvement. 

The applicant uses organic waste incorporation and is trialling various environmental working practices and robotics for the optimum growth and harvesting of the potatoes. 

The site would also include a range of green initiatives, such as a solar PV system on potato storage buildings and a ground-source heat pump system.

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