A flurry of complaints about ‘unbearable’ smells coming from Sudbury’s pet food factory last week has resulted in an investigation by the company.
Nearby resident George Buffham said he had noticed the smell – dubbed the Sudbury pong - had been stronger than usual on Thursday, Friday and Monday.
“I’m not sure why this was the case but it’s impossible to sit in the garden; the smell was unbearable,” he said.
Retired chemist Glyn Morgan who goes to dances at the Delhi Centre, near the Nestlé Purina pet food factory, said: “The smell’s been so bad we couldn’t continue dancing.”
Roger Pullen from the Residents Liasion Group - which last met the company for talks in October - said: “All I can say is that the level of odour is often unacceptable, and I sincerely hope that Nestlé Purina will respond more actively to residents’ reasonable concerns, with more pressure from the Environment Agency if necessary.”
James Bird who posted a message on the Free Press Facebook site commented: “I live within a mile of the factory and, yes, sometimes it is a little pungent - but far better than it used to be. I mean, come on, snap out of this NIMBY small town attitude moaning about an occasional whiff.”
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We received a number of odour reports from local residents and businesses last week and, in response, we have been to the area to monitor the severity of the odour.
“We also called on the company to investigate the reports as required by the conditions of their environmental permit.
“We would like to reassure residents that we continue to ensure that Nestlé Purina takes all the necessary measures to minimise odour emissions from its factory.
“Upon our instruction, the company commissioned independent experts to carry out further odour related monitoring last month.
“We are currently in the process of reviewing the findings from this work and, if we are not satisfied that appropriate measures are in place, we will consider further action.”
The Environment Agency said it encourages anyone who experiences excessive odour from the Sudbury site to call its incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
Nestlé Purina’s communications spokesman James Blake, based at the company’s Gatwick offices, said the company had spent more than £1m improving to its odour abatement system.
“Our factory team completes a twice daily odour monitoring exercise using the Environment Agency scale of one to six. Scores of three or greater are where a persistent and distinct odour is detected,” he said.
“When a complaint is received, we dispatch the team to assess the level of odour. Last week we received six complaints. In each case, no scores above one to two were recorded by us or the Environment Agency officer.
“While no abatement technique can remove 100 percent of odours, we are confident this investment has led to significant improvements.
“Our systems are regularly measured by externally-certified specialists and the results submitted to the Environment Agency as part of our on-going monitoring and permit management. This exercise was completed two weeks ago and our results confirmed our systems are operating within the expected performance criteria.”