Residents near one Durham Recycling Centre are kicking up a stink with Durham County Council over the stench from a council run compost generation scheme set up on the site near to their homes.
In the past the site at the former Joint Stacks site was a standard landfill site that processed general waste ready for land fill or recycling but the latest use for the site is causing residents to complain due to the strong stench from rotting waste impeding on their daily life.
“The smell is sickening sometimes” quoted one concerned resident “We can’t have the windows open or enjoy our gardens, especially at this time of year” (UK Summer time). It’s the villages of Kelloe, Coxhoe and Quarrington Hill that are most effected and residents and visitors to the area find it unacceptable.
The composting process involves spreading garden waste and food waste out over a concrete surface as big as a football pitch, allowing the natural processes to decay the material and process it into compost to be sold on.
“The smell can be stomach turning, especially when they turn the waste over releasing more foul smells, it also attracts loads of flies and it’s just not nice living here sometimes, it’s the first thing you smell when you open your door in a morning” said Gary Firth, a local parish councillor.
He added: “The heaps of waste are so big they have to keep turning the ‘green’ waste with a digger. They have been doing it for a about a year now. “The council promised me they would sort it out, but they have never done so.
“They have little towers and are spraying water on it, but it’s not working at all. I have had tours with the manager and I have seen for myself – they just cannot cope with it. If they cannot control it they will have to close it down. It’s as simple as that.” he added in frustration. “It’s not like we are not used to some smells around here” continued Gary, “But since they started the compost scheme over a year ago the smell is beyond belief sometimes, It’s nothing short of anti-social”
Meetings have been held with the Environmental Agency and Durham County Council as well a representative from local residents as confirmed by a representative from the local Enviromenatl Office.
“Environment Agency officers are investigating reports of odours from the Durham County Council composting operation at the former Joint Stocks landfill site in the Durham area confirmed a spokesperson of the local EA, she went on to add, “We take reports of nuisance odours from regulated sites very seriously as they can be extremely distressing for those affected.
Durham County Council must take appropriate measures to minimise the impact of odours from its operation on the neighbouring community. If such measures are not taken and significant pollution is identified, a permit breach may be recorded and further action may be taken”.
Durham County Council have said that they are aware of the issues at the site that have been raised by the residents and are keen to work with the residents, alongside the Environmental Agency to try and resolve the issue but made no comments on whether the plant would be closed or not.
Durham County Council’s head of environmental services, Oliver Sherratt, said: “We take any complaint of this nature very seriously. We work closely with the Environment Agency, the regulatory body for waste, to make sure we operate our site in accordance with our environmental permits.”
“We have a full odour suppression system and weather station operating on site, which we use to limit odours being detected off site. All activities that could result in the creation of odours are stopped if our weather station indicates that wind direction or other factors could result in an odour leaving our site. We would urge anyone that continues to experience these odours to report it to us immediately on 0800 807060.”
Local Residents and the Parish council members said they will continue to push this matter with the council until a resolve is found, further meetings are to be held and we intend to be an integral part of these meetings to ensure we can continue to have a decent quality of life where we can enjoy our homes and surrounding areas without the smells from this site causing us problems.