New whiff not actionable

AN offensive smell is again causing a stink in the Suffolk countryside.

Tom Potter

AN offensive smell is again causing a stink in the Suffolk countryside.

The unpleasant pong, known locally as the 'Woolpit whiff,' has plagued residents of Drinkstone, near Bury St Edmunds, for the last 20 years.

Villagers living within sniffing distance of Rookery Farm thought the problem would go away when Mid Suffolk Council took out a court injunction against farm owner John Clarke.

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But Mr Clarke successfully challenged the ruling to refuse him a rendering permit for his business, which turns bird carcasses into fertiliser.

The council has since revealed an increase in complaints from those living nearby but said the cause of the stench was not linked to the rendering process.

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John Grayling, head of environmental health, said: “There has been an increase in complaints but not about odours coming from the rendering operation on Rookery Farm.

“This instead is related to Mr Clarke spreading material on land he owns and not to do with rendering. It is producing the same smell but through a different process.”

Mr Grayling added the council would be challenging the planning inspectorate's decision to accept the current use of the site as a rendering plant and award Mr Clarke's business lawful developing rights.

Mr Grayling explained that the council would not be acting against the more recent smell, saying: “We have been getting out there to witness what is being complained about but are yet to witness odours that we would consider actionable.

“Mr Clarke has been taking any precautions he can by injecting material where able to and spreading within a reasonable time.”

Mr Clarke confirmed the smell was not emanating from the rendering plant on Rookery Farm. He said: “It's not down to the rendering process. The smell is coming from muck spreading.”

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