Environment Agency surgery over Willerby compost smells
RESIDENTS living with the smell of a composting facility are urged to keep complaining if they have problems.
The Environment Agency held a drop-in event to inform people about recent changes to operations at the Biowise site in Willerby.
The agency, which aims to protect and improve the environment, received 188 complaints about the smell coming from Biowise in Albion Lane last year.
So far this year, there have already been 573 complaints, and the Environment Agency has tightened up its controls over odours.
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The drop-in session, held on Tuesday at the Mercure Hull Grange Park Hotel, Willerby, was well-attended.
Among those in attendance was Willerby Parish Council chairman Fred Smith, who lives in Wolfreton Lane, Willerby.
He said: "Because more people have complained recently, we should definitely continue to monitor it.
"Personally, after going to the drop-in session, I was reassured.
"Where I am, we don't smell it. But I know someone who lives no more than 500 yards away and they can smell it."
George Wride, 62, of Oakhill, Willerby, said: "I think it's a joke. I have to put up with this smell every day. It's getting worse all the time.
"We asked them whether they check every wagon going in and I was told they don't.
"I'm worried it will affect my health. It definitely affects the house prices.
"The meeting seemed chaotic on Tuesday. We were told that, for health and safety reasons, they would only allow a certain number of people in at a time."
The meeting was arranged for the Environment Agency to explain changes to the environmental permit held by Biowise and talk about its role in the regulation of the site.
Tom Pagett, planning liaison officer at the Environment Agency, said: "This remains a high priority and we plan to monitor the air around the site for a set time period, three times a day."
Biowise is a composting facility that mainly recycles construction and organic waste.
Following complaints about odours, the Environment Agency has changed the company's environmental permit.
Things such as tannery waste, which cause some of the strongest odours, were already excluded.
The company has also been required to sign up to a set of commitments to reduce the risk of odours.
There will be regular Environment Agency site visits.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "When we have evidence Biowise Limited has breached a permit condition, we can take enforcement action, from warnings through to prosecution.
"Some permit breaches will carry a financial penalty and could result in an increase to the company's annual fee of up to 300 per cent per year."
Mr Smith said one problem was smells being experienced inconsistently across the local area.
He said: "We've had a couple of people complain to the parish council about the smell but it seems to be located in particular areas, such as Victoria Avenue and Riplingham Road in Kirk Ella.
"I've been up to the Biowise plant and been shown around to see what they are doing there.
"I came away from the meeting confident the Environment Agency is doing all it can. But it is worrying that the number of calls has gone up. I know the Environment Agency is monitoring the calls."
A graph on display at Mercure Hull Grange Park Hotel showed the number of complaints about the site has accelerated in the past few months.