Foul smells cost composting firm £13k

28th April 2014

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  • Waste ,
  • Stakeholder engagement ,
  • Corporate fine ,
  • Prosecution ,
  • Environment agencies


Richard Campen

Eco Sustainable Services, a Dorset-based processor of organic waste, has been fined £7,400 and ordered to pay £6,100 in costs after repeatedly breaching the environmental permit for its headquarters in Parley and allowing offensive odours to escape the site

Complaints about smells from the site, which processes 150,000 tonnes of organic material a year and produces turf, topsoil, compost and woodchip, date back to 2006 and the Environment Agency repeatedly issued warning letters to the firm. In March 2011, Eco Sustainable Services accepted a formal caution from the regulator for breaching the odour condition of its permit, however, the complaints continued.

In October 2013, the agency’s national odour expert visited the composting site and recommended improvements and on 20 December the firm was issued with four enforcement notices, which require it to move to an open air composting system, improve the aeration of the site’s leachate lagoons, improve the food reception building and produce a new environmental management system and odour management plan.

The firm says it has invested £1 million to improve the site in line with the enforcement notices, including spending £250,000 on new composting equipment and reorganising the 13-acre site with food waste, which previously accounted for 45,000 tonnes of the material processed at the site, move to another location in Dorset.

“Eco Sustainable Services has always tried to be a good neighbour but we recognise that in the past we’ve suffered from odour issues,” commented managing director Trelawney Dampney, announcing the investment earlier this month. “The handling of food waste was one of the main reasons for the complaints. We still use the Parley site as a transfer station but the processing of food waste is now done elsewhere.”

According to Dampney, the measures mean that “all obnoxious odours and about 80% of smells” have been eliminated from the site.

Stephanie Marriott, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, acknowledged the changes that the company has made: “The operator has now complied with three of the notices and is on course to comply with the fourth very soon. Since December 2013 it has worked closely with us and made significant on-site improvements.”

At Bournemouth magistrates’ court the firm pleaded guilty to four offences of contravening permit conditions between October 2012 and June 2013 and five offences of causing significant odour off site between February and April 2013.

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