Over 100 dead flies sent to Environment Agency boss to highlight worsening problem in village near Leamington

Villagers say they are fed up with an ‘intolerable’ smell and huge number of flies

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 12:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th August 2021, 12:56 pm
Villagers say they are fed up with an ‘intolerable’ smell and huge number of flies

More than 100 dead flies have been sent to the boss of the Environment Agency to highlight a worsening problem in a Warwickshire village.

Residents of Ufton had presumed the flies and an ‘intolerable’ smell that wafted over their homes was due to a nearby landfill site but were told this week that that was not the case.

Local resident Jackie Chapman, who is also clerk to Ufton Parish Council, said the issue with flies and odour from the site had been proven with 41 complaints upheld by the Environment Agency up to 2015.

And at a meeting of Warwickshire County Council’s regulatory committee on Tuesday, when changes to the Biffa-controlled facility were discussed, she explained that the problem had not gone away.

She said: “The Environment Agency has admitted that the number of complaints this year has gone up and that’s because the smell is intolerable - it seems to come out in wafts.

“The flies this year have been excessive. On one evening I swatted 132 and sent them to the chief executive - that’s just revolting. It is an ongoing issue and the village is very upset about it.”

The application before the county council was to amend the layout of the Southam Road site and increase the size of compost maturation pad - the area where garden and food waste is turned into compost after initially going through an indoor temperature-controlled process.

Senior planning officer Matthew WIlliams explained: “The composting happens in a controlled environment before materials are moved out of the building and further composted on a concrete pad. The application is to amend the layout of the composting pad so it would increase the size. The purpose is to improve efficiency of operations on site and to achieve a higher standard of compost.

“The key issue is in relation to odour and fles. The parish council says this has been ongoing since the facility opened and that it has never been addressed. I know there were issues in the early days of the site with odour - that was partially addressed by adding an additional composting pad in 2013.

“At the moment we are being told that the Environment Agency is not seeing a problem with the spraying regime for flies - if they do they will require the operator to do more.”

Mike Harty, from landfill site operators Biffa, explained that the outdoor composting area was sprayed twice each week.

He added: “The beauty of the process is that you can control the odours much better because the first two weeks are in a sealed tube or tunnel. I suspect that the parish council has not understood that our proposals will actually assist in the management of odour and flies.

“Complaints about flies and odour have been thoroughly investigated by the Environment Agency who regulate the site alongside the planning authority and were found not to be due to on site operations.”

Councillors unanimously approved the plans.