That’s the conclusion of and Environment Agency (EA) investigation into foul smells emanating from Veolia’s composting facility in Fareham.
Veolia’s Downend Composting Plant is, according to The Portsmouth News, has been identified as the source of the ‘Portchester Pong’.
The Environment Agency (EA) recorded 390 complaints about the stench in just two months September and October 2009.
The EA investigated the matter, at some expense to the public purse, and found that Veolia “breached its environmental permit on 15 occasions for the level of pong it produced”.
Legal action could now follow.
EA spokesman Nigel Wonnacott accepted that these breaches were “quite serious”:
With this recent spike of complaints we have had to spend a lot of time and resources investigating and monitoring it. If there are enough breaches it could lead to prosecution if the problem continues. The community needs to see that we are taking this seriously.
According to the Portsmouth Times article:
The Environment Agency said it was working closely with Veolia on a new management plan to minimise the pong. But it has already rejected one draft for not doing enough to prevent the smell.
And because of the amount of work carried out by the agency, it is looking at increasing the cost of Downend’s annual environmental permit from £2,000 to about £6,000.
Ward councillor Roger Price has been campaigning on behalf of the residents since the composting facility opened. He is quoted as saying:
It has taken nine years to get this far – something like this should have been done in year one. I think it’s a pity the Environment Agency didn’t grasp the nettle earlier. They are still looking at what action they can take because of the amount of complaints.
Veolia seem to have given up on solving the problem. Veolia Environmental Services spokeswoman Joanna Dixon said:
It is our intention to stop receiving green waste at the site by the end of 2010 and to cease composting operations entirely by the end of June 2011.