At Fridays we have become a leading national producer of free range eggs. We are recognised for our work and achieving the highest standards of egg production and welfare. We work closely with the communities in which we operate.
Operating at the highest standards
We will bring our years of experience and expertise of the highest quality egg production, consistent with the country’s high levels of animal welfare standards as recognised by the highly respected Compassion in World Farming.
Every part of the Fridays’ egg production complies with Lion Quality Scheme, RSPCA Assured, ISO 45001:2018 health and safety standards. We are the only UK egg producer to have achieved the ISO 14001:2000 accreditation for their approach to environmental management.
How the farm will operate
The Wealden Woods farm would operate a free range system, with hens ranging and grazing in grass paddocks and woodland before returning to the houses to feed, drink, lay and roost overnight.
Internally each building will be arranged in a similar manner, with a central service and packing area and two wings either side that contain the hen roosting and laying areas.
Hens in our free range farms display regular habits and patterns of behaviour. They use the same roost and nest box throughout their time on the farm and assume a defined social pecking order within their particular colony.
The social pecking order defines the times at which hens will generally range and typically through the day only 30-50% of the hens will be outside the laying houses at any one time. This increases prior to sundown, which is the most popular ranging time, ahead of the hens returning to the laying houses for the night. The hens are shut into the poultry houses during the night and allowed to range again in the morning.
Feed, a significant amount produced on our wheat farms, is delivered via HGV to the central service area of each poultry house and stored in external feed silos before being distributed by auger systems to the roosting areas.
The hens are fed at the same time each day and hens will return to the laying house at regular intervals throughout the day to feed, drink and excrete droppings. The majority (c.90%) of droppings are produced inside the laying houses.
The proposed poultry houses will operate a multi-tiered system, with both eggs and hen manure collected via automated conveyors. Manure belts are continuously operated to air dry the droppings which are removed on a weekly basis. This eliminates the occurrence of odour and the regular manure removal does not provide sufficient time for flies to complete their breeding cycle. Each of the buildings will be mechanically ventilated with roof mounted inlets and outlets.
All manure from the farm will be transported in covered vehicles to an anaerobic digester at our Knoxbridge Farm near Staplehurst to generate enough renewable energy from gas to supply at least 200 homes. The anaerobic process composts the manure in sealed containers to produce an odourless compost. No land spreading of manure will take place at Wealden Woods or our other farms.
The UK’s largest independent agricultural and environmental agency, ADAS, has predicted the change of use will lead to a net reduction in the amount of phosphorous and nitrates being deposited on the land. View summary.
Access and traffic
Access to Wealden Woods would be via a newly constructed junction from Hunton Road, and once vehicles were on site there would be a single-track road with passing bays to allow two-way vehicle access to the poultry houses.
During a typical week vehicle movement will comprise the collection of eggs and the delivery of feed, together with staff movements. On a typical week the farm will generate:
- 6 lorry loads of feed per week
- 6 lorry visits to collect eggs per week
- 6 tractor-trailer visits per week to remove manure.
Spread over the course of a week, we do not believe this represents a significant increase in traffic on a road that is already used by HGVs and is close to the A229.
There would also be approximately 8-10 members of our team visiting the site each day.
All vehicles will only route along Hunton Road as far as the Wealden Woods access and return to Fridays in Cranbrook. As a result there will be no vehicle movements north of the proposed farm onto East Street, George Street or Redwall Lane.