‘It Stinks’: Residents hit out over smelly fertiliser decision

Controversy: The Sterefibre storage site in Hampole.
Controversy: The Sterefibre storage site in Hampole.
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CONCERNED residents are kicking up a stink after Doncaster Council backed down over a red card issued to a smelly fertilizer store.

The authority’s planning committee issued a ‘stop notice’ to environmental firm Sterecycle after residents complained about odours being produced by manufactured fertilizer being stored at a landfill site near their homes in Hampole.

But residents were horrified when the order was withdrawn.

Nick Balliger, chairman of Hampole and Skelbrook Parish Meeting, said residents were concerned about the smell produced by the fertilizer, called sterefibre, and produced by treating household rubbish and removing organic components.

It is stored at the Hazel Lane landfill site.

He said it was a ‘rotting, chemical smell,’ and some people living close to the site had complained about respiratory problems which they claimed were related to it.

He said: “When the wind is blowing towards your home, you cannot go outside in your garden - you have to stay indoors.

“When the council planning committee said it had to go, we thought we had got at least a temporary victory, but it seems we are no further advanced.

“We are not happy that they seem to have reversed the planning committee’s decision. We have still got this stuff on our doorsteps.”

Director of regeneration and environment at Doncaster Council Peter Dale said the authority issued a ‘stop’ notice on August 17 following a request from planning committee, but it was withdrawn on August 19 before it came into effect.

The decision was taken by chief executive Rob Vincent because of legal issues but will be reconsidered when officials have looked at the issue further.

He said the firm currently didn’t have planning permission to store sterefibre on the site, but the committee’s decision could be appealed. It could also re-submit an application addressing the planning committee’s concerns.

He added: “In the meantime, we are committed to working with the owners of the site and the Environment Agency on a way forward. On August 17, 2011, we issued an enforcement notice giving Sterecycle and (site owner) Cat Plant six months to stop moving sterefibre onto the site and to remove existing stockpiles. This notice remains in force.”

Sterecycle chief executive Tom Shields said he understood the residents’ concerns, but added the odour could not be attributed specifically to the sterefibre.

He said the Environment Agency had approved the storage procedures, and the material was stored on a properly engineered mat.

Sterefibre was stored at the site until it was moved to other sites.

He said the firm had worked with Doncaster Council officers and was surprised when planning permission for the site was refused. He said: “A couple of weeks ago we received a stop notice, which would have stopped us completely. We thought that was heavy handed. Such notices are for when things are dangerous to the environment or people. But what we are doing has been approved by the Environment Agency and is harmful to neither.”