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EA: Veolia stinks

Veolia stinks

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.

One thought on “EA: Veolia stinks

  1. Shlomo

    Veolia is not only smelly, but also noisy…

    Council waste contractor has been told to be quiet at Newtown Road tip or face potential legal action

    TIP operators at the Newtown Road waste site have been told to pipe down or face legal action after the council issued a formal noise abatement notice last week.
    The facility opened last October following two years of controversy, but noise complaints from nearby residents flooded in as soon as the first lorries rolled onto site, according to Greenham district councillors.

    Liberal Democrat councillors Julian Swift-Hook and Billy Drummond say they have campaigned long and hard in an attempt to get West Berkshire Council to take action against the noise pollution and some residents of nearby Deadman’s Lane claimed the site had ruined their lives.

    Residents said they could hear lorries and particularly reversing sirens echoing around their houses at all hours of the day, but their complaints were dismissed by a Local Government Ombudsman who deemed that noise from the nearby A339 was so loud that it would mask any noise created by the site.

    Now however, West Berkshire Council has issued the abatement notice against its own waste contractor, Veolia, which will have to introduce noise reduction measures at the site within a limited timescale or face legal action and a potential fine.

    Mr Swift-Hook said the investigation leading to the order had been “long and detailed” and had been the result of sustained pressure on the council by himself and his colleague, Mr Drummond.

    He said: “Deadmans Lane residents have been suffering for a long time, living with the bangs and crashes that comes from the site at all times of the day, and it’s a great relief, especially to them, that at last something is being done to put an end to it.”

    He added: “As well as organising a residents’ meeting earlier in the year, I have been working behind the scenes with council officers for many months to get them to issue a Noise Abatement Notice. It’s a complex and long-winded process, with lots of legal details that have to be covered, and it needed a lot of help from the residents themselves, making daily logs of the noise problems and letting Council officers into their homes to carry out monitoring.”

    Mr Swift-Hook said the notice would not be an “instant cure” but is the first essent
    “Issuing the Notice is at last official recognition that the waste site is making too much noise – something we have all known for a year,” said Councillor Swift-Hook. “It is not an instant cure, but it is the first essential step in the formal process to put an end to the residents’ suffering.”

    Council spokesman Keith Ulyatt said said he could not release the details of the abatement notice but would confirm that one was issued last Friday.

    He said: “We can confirm that on Friday the council’s environmental health officers issued a noise abatement notice to Veolia ES West Berkshire Ltd. The notice was served as a result of statutory noise nuisance emanating from the site. A letter has been sent to local residents informing them of this.”

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