Sunday, August 16, 2009

Landfill site is source of smell

THE mystery surrounding the cause of the foul stench that has been pervading the Otford area has finally been solved.

Waste management firm Cory Environmental has held its hands up to the stink and admitted it has been coming from its landfill site at Greatness Quarry.

The smell has been making the lives of Otford residents and workers on the nearby Vestry Estate a misery for some time.

Sue Burgess, director of Weald Refrigeration, which operates from the Vestry Estate, said: "It's like having your head in a dustbin. It's rotting rubbish – very strong.

"We've had to shut the factory doors and windows."

Barbara Darby, who lives in The Butts, said: "It's not pleasant. It's been going on for some time.

"I would like it stopped."

Cory spokesman Lynne Cure explained the organisation was carrying out work on the site in preparation to drill for gas.

It intends to extract this to generate electricity.

"We took a number of measures to minimise odour while this work was being carried out, including increasing our odour control equipment, only working in areas which could be uncovered, worked and recovered in a day, and not working on days when the wind was in the direction of the estate," she said.

"Unfortunately due to the extremely hot, humid and still weather conditions last week, some odour was experienced on the estate and we apologise to residents for this."

She added the work would be completed tomorrow.

The Environment Agency is responsible for issuing licences to companies who operate landfill sites.

Spokesman Lucy Harding said complaints had been received about Greatness Quarry.

"The site has been doing some engineering work to move waste from one part of the site to another, and although odour suppression is being used, there does still seem to be a problem during this warm spell of weather," she said.

"The work is essential to meet environmental control and planning permission requirements and is only scheduled for a short period of time."

Cory dumps up to 175,000 tonnes of waste every year at the site and last month was given permission to extend its operation until 2015.

Ms Cure explained when Kent County Council originally granted planning permission for the site back in 2002, Cory was allowed to landfill for 10 years.

Work did not actually start until 2005 and the recent extension effectively allowed Cory to recover the three years lost be operating until 2015.

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