Foul smells threaten future of waste plant

The future of a giant waste plant in Staffordshire is under threat as residents, who say their lives are being blighted by foul smells, launch action which could see the £24 million site closed down.

People living near the Biffa Anaerobic Digestion Plant in Heath Hayes say their lives are being made a misery. They met Biffa representatives, Environment Agency officials and Aidan Burley MP for behind closed doors talks after the Express & Star was refused entry last night.

Residents today said Biffa has ordered an independent report which will examine if the plant can be made more air-tight.

But they warned they will ask the Environment Agency to revoke Biffa's licence to process waste at the Newlands Park estate site if the report proves inconclusive. The move would put 30 jobs at risk.

Anne Willis, who lives in neighbouring Nuthatch Close, was among half a dozen residents who attended last night's meeting at Poplars Landfill Site. They were told 250 complaints had flooded in over the plant in August.

The 42-year-old said: "Biffa said they would carry out an independent report, where all the bolts, seals, doors would all be checked and there would be a public meeting at Heath Hayes Community Centre on November 2.

"If that report doesn't find anything can be done then we will ask the Environment Agency to go down the route of revoking the licence."

Mr Burley said: "Last night it was very clear the residents were at the end of their tether."

Launched in spring 2011, the plant aims to process up to 120,000 tons of food waste every year. The digestion site is equal in size to two football pitches.

Biffa spokeswoman Julie Fourcade said: "We will continue to make improvements to eliminate odours from plant operations."

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