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Farmers banned from using smelly fertiliser

Farmers have been banned from using fertiliser that comes from a controversial waste plant because of complaints from residents about foul smells.


Answers are being demanded about the Biffa anaerobic digester and adjoining landfill site in Cannock following fears among householders that the company that runs the site may remain for there least another 20 years.

Scrutiny chiefs in the town are calling on the company to give an estimated date for the firm's departure from the Poplars site.

In a wider crackdown on bad smells, they are also writing to Severn Trent Water about its treatment works in Longford Road asking for regular meetings.

Cannock Chase Council wants to set up a liaison committee with the water giant to discuss any complaints arising from operations affecting residents on the nearby Mosswood estate.

The two companies are among a string of businesses that have been called to task by the authority over the air quality in Cannock.

Protests about a stink at Biffa were received from neighbours late last year after farmers started using digestate from the plant, which breaks down foodstuffs and other organic matter, as fertiliser on their fields.

The practice was stopped after intervention by the environmental health department.

Digger makers JCB, which has a plant at Rugeley, and major car components firm Tallent Gestamp, on Wolverhampton Road, Cannock, have both got environmental permits, giving the council greater control over their emissions output.

Casting plant Norton Aluminium, which generated several complaints, has now relocated out of the district and Augean's treatment unit in Walkmill Lane, Bridgtown, has changed from processing to mainly storage.

Councillor John Kraujalis, scrutiny chairman, said: "I'm very pleased with the response of some firms, like Tallent, who are very proactive on this issue but it concerns me that others are not. We may want the jobs that industry brings but not at the expense of the quality of people's lives. It's a very fine line that has to be drawn."

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