Pressure on Purina to tackle Sudbury stench

The Nestle Purina site in Sudbury

The Nestle Purina site in Sudbury

A Sudbury pet food factory is under increasing pressure to tackle foul odours as it is revealed an environmental regulator recorded 40 stench complaints since last month.

George Buffham

George Buffham

Nestlé Purina has already ploughed more than £1million into measures to combat the problem of smells emanating from its PetCare site at the Chilton Industrial Estate over the past two years.

Yet townspeople are still having to put up with the stench, which Windermere Road resident George Buffham said had been “atrocious” all week, apart from yesterday.

The Environment Agency, which took 34 smell complaints last month and six this month so far, does not believe the whiff abatement controls Nestlé has put in place have been effective enough.

An agency spokeswoman said the firm is yet to convince them they are using the best techniques to control odour releases.

A spokesman for Nestlé Purina PetCare said, while no abatement measures could remove 100% of odours, the firm is “confident” its financial investment has led to “significant improvements”.

Mr Buffham, who is unable to enjoy his garden due to the stench, said: “I have got people staying with me from Florida and they said ‘how can you put up with this?’ I just want something done.”

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Independent Sudbury Town Councillor Ellen Murphy, who also lives in Windermere Road, has asked for the issue to be on the agenda of the town council’s leisure and environment committee, which will meet on October 27.

She said: “The fact it’s been going on for years, I do think as a town council we should be looking at it properly.”

Miss Murphy said the problem had been getting worse recently, leading to the question: “Why has it got worse since they have spent £1m?”

“I would say the last couple of months, I would say eight weeks, it’s been really bad and I would say continuous. I go into Sudbury to escape it and it’s been bad down there,” she added.

The spokesman for Nestlé Purina PetCare said this week it had adjusted its odour abatement systems after an incidence of “distinct odour” was confirmed.

“These odour level tests were in addition to our regular twice daily odour level checks which have been calibrated with Environment Agency officers,” he said.

He said they are “committed” to achieving the best possible smell control and are working with the Environment Agency to undertake a full review of their odour abatement systems, with another meeting scheduled for December.

“We continue to work closely with local residents to address any concerns they may have,” he added.

The Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “We met with the company on September 11 when it was agreed that the company’s current review of its odour control methods needed further work and so we have agreed more time for them to consider whether further actions may be needed to more effectively control odours.

“During that time we will continue to monitor the operation of the site through our routine compliance visits and regular odour surveys as appropriate.”

She encouraged people to report odour nuisance to the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

The smells from the factory are not considered harmful to public health.

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