Nasty new pong permeates town
THE stink which has been hanging over the town for the past couple of weeks reached new levels of potency at the weekend thanks to work at a farm near Pease Pottage.
Two weeks ago, the Observer reported that people had been complaining to the Environment Agency in their droves about the nasty niff believed to be coming from the KPS composting centre, also in Pease Pottage.
But, after almost 200 calls between Thursday (September 6) and Saturday, staff from the EA joined Crawley Borough Council to investigate and discovered that the new stench was the result of sewage sludge being spread at a farm south of the composting centre.
A spokesman for the council said: “Strong smells over the weekend were traced to a farm in Cottesmore and had nothing to do with the composting site.
“Crawley council’s environmental health officers and the Environment Agency visited the farm over the weekend and requested the sludge cakes should be ploughed into the land as quickly as possible to reduce odours. This was complete by Sunday lunchtime.”
The original smell, which wafted across town from the composting plant, is being investigated by the EA to see if any breach of permit has taken place.
Meanwhile, the council is carrying out its own investigation to see if the odour represents a “statutory nuisance” – an incident such as a smell or noise which exceeds what an ordinary person could be expected to tolerate.
If this was found to be the case, the matter would be referred to the Secretary of State.
Wherever the stench came from, many residents have had enough.
Vanessa Kirby, of Bewbush, said: “The smell in Bewbush has been really toxic, it got right to the back of my throat. I had to shut my windows, I couldn’t breath.
“I couldn’t believe how awful it was, it could be making people ill. They need to sort it out.
“It needs to be investigated properly. A lot of people just don;t know who to phone. If they did they would get a more clear idea of how widespread the smell was.”
The council spokesman assured people that the composting smell was harmless and added: “The council is investigating the smell which is thought to be coming from an industrial composting plant in Pease Pottage.
“The composting process is completely natural and no chemicals are used. The smell can be quite unpleasant but due to the lack of chemicals is not harmful.
“The Environment Agency is the primary regulator for composting sites and the Pease Pottage site has been issued with a standard permit to compost. Crawley council is working with the Environment Agency to investigate the problem.”
See letters, page 6, for a selection of readers’ comments about the smell.
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