September 17, 2021 10.50 am This story is over 31 months old

Council bombarded with 600 Smelly Skelly factory complaints

Three-quarters of complaints were made in 2021

Three-quarters of the 600 complaints over the past six years about an “horrendous stench” from a Skellingthorpe factory were sent to North Kesteven District Council in 2021, a Freedom of Information request by The Lincolnite has revealed.

It comes as residents continue to demand action about the problem plaguing the village, particularly on Jerusalem Road, where people have had to endure smell and noise coming from the near by A Hughes & Son rendering plant for several years.

Residents have been raising the issue for years, with The Lincolnite repeatedly pressing the council and the factory for answers. Two residents recently said the smell did improve for a while, but the problem certainly hasn’t gone away.

A Freedom of Information request sent to the district council, asked for the number of complaints between the start of 2015 and August, 9 2021. Data between August 9 and September 15 was later provided by the council.

There have been a total of 600 complaints between the start of 2015 and September 15. Of these, 452 were during 2021, which represents 75.3%.

The original data showed 353 complaints were received between the start of 2015 and August 9 this year. The figure then shot up by 192 in the short space of time between August 9 and August 17, and up another 55 by September 15.

A map created by a resident, with responses from more than 70 people, to visualise the spread of the smell.

The Lincolnite also asked, via the Freedom of Information request, what action has been taken by the council against site owners Leo Group, and A Hughes & Son, during this time, including any fines and written warnings.

No action has been taken against Leo Group, while environmental permit holder A Hughes & Son got a formal written warning in relation to odour emission on August 3 this year. On the same date, a formal written warning in relation to particulate emission was issued to the company.

Then on August 20, a Request for Information Notice was issued. The council says the company has supplied the detailed information required by the council and within the prescribed timescale.

The factory is located on Jerusalem Road in Skellingthorpe. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The council said: “Given the substantial volume of information submitted, this needs to be reviewed which will take some time. The aim of the exercise is to fully understand the procedures in place on site and assess these in accordance with industry guidance.”

The Lincolnite contacted A Hughes & Son for a comment, but there was no response at the time of publication.

One resident said black smoke can be seen every day in Jerusalem Road.

Resident Joff Burr said: “We had weeks with no smell, even recently when we had all that sun, but this week it is back. It felt like since the last Lincolnite story the smell went away, but now it is back again. They [the factory] must have some sort of control over it.”

Fellow Skellingthorpe resident David Crockatt said: “It has been better recently. We had last weekend when it was bad for a few hours, then it improved slightly, but we are still trying to put more pressure on the district council about this issue.”

Meanwhile, a resident, who wished to remain anonymous, created a map from more than 70 responses, to visualise the spread of the smell the factory produces, saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” – view the map here.

The rendering plant is located on Jerusalem Road in Skellingthorpe. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

In February this year, plans were unanimously approved to demolish the existing animal by-products processing plant and build a new processing plant at the farm.

Meanwhile, we reported in May Lincolnshire County Council will consider a re-submitted application for a controversial animal rendering plant in nearby Norton Disney.

Lincoln Proteins Ltd resubmitted its planning application for the facility at Villa Farm in Folly Lane after it was previously refused in February 2020 amid concerns over heritage and location. Previous plans also prompted protests by residents who campaigned to “say no to the stink”.