Foul 'methane-like' stench from waste site leaves locals feeling sick

We’re sick to death of the foul ‘methane-like’ smell making us sick and giving us headaches: Fed-up locals blast odour ‘coming from waste site’ which is blighting their lives

  • Locals in Escrick say the smell from a mountain of rubbish makes them feel sick
  • The villagers say the methane-like stench can be smelt from four miles away   

The fed-up residents of a village near York have said they have been left feeling sick by a ‘methane-like’ stench that emanates from a nearby waste management facility.

Villagers in Escrick, North Yorkshire, say they forced to close their doors and windows to prevent the smell of ‘rotting rubbish’ entering their homes.  

They claim the foul odour comes from the nearby Acumen Waste Services site in Escrick, which they say can be smelt from up to four miles away. 

The site is used to collect and process household and construction waste and residents claim it makes feel sick and gives them headaches. 

A mountain of waste with vapour rising from it is also visible from the village, with residents saying they have been able to smell the pile since the start of the year.

Steve Hall (left) and Nigel Wilford (right) hold their noses in front of the ‘mountain’ of rubbish at the Acumen Waste Services near Escrick

The waste site is near the Escrick Business Park and people working there have said the awful smell is affecting their health and even their businesses.

The UK’s Environment Agency has now vowed to ‘resolve’ the problem, after claiming the stench is the result of ‘unsuitable’ conditions for waste management. 

Emily Freeman, who runs the Mill House Nursery, has said on some days, the smell is so bad she can’t let the children go outside to play.

READ MORE: Aerial photos show the abandoned 10,000-ton, 50ft tall smoldering mound of rubbish that is making the villagers next door fall sick

She also said that she has to keep the windows and doors closed all day and said parents of the children she looks after were becoming worried about the smell.

Emily said: ‘It is making staff feel sick and headachey. It is very gassy, very methaney, like rotting rubbish – very strong. 

‘It’s just horrible. We’re not 100 per cent sure what it is we’re breathing in.’

Ben Thornton, a chef at the Hog and Apple food company said that the smell is ‘very gassy’ and ‘attacks you straight away.’

He said: ‘The smell just attacks you straight away. It’s very gassy, and you can smell methane in there.’

‘Whenever the smell comes, you have to shut all the shutters down.’

Mr Thornton also said it affects his business, as one wedding party came to make a food order but thought the smell was coming from the Hog and Apple.

Although they were assured that it wasn’t, Ben said ‘it doesn’t give a good impression.’

He even suffers from the stink when he goes home to Riccall, which is around 1.7 miles away from the business park.

‘It’s particularly bad on wet nights, he says – sometime into the early hours. I had my wife saying “I can’t sleep” the other day.

‘We had to close all the windows.’

Nigel Wilford, the workshop manager at garden and power tools company Sumec UK, said the smell gets so bad sometimes it even permeates his hair and clothes.

He said: ‘I went home last night and I could smell it on me.’

Ben Thornton (left) and Emily Freeman (right) stand in front of the entrance to the Acumen Waste Services facility 

James Dale, who runs the DG Dale and Son garage at the business park, said some of his staff had had to have time off because the smell made them feel ill.

He said: ‘On a scale of 1-10, it is 11.’

READ MORE: Relief for Staffordshire village blighted by ‘rotten egg’ smell from festering landfill site as Environment Agency is ordered to reduce noxious gases mother claimed were shortening her five-year-old son’s life 

Local resident Steve Hall said when the wind was in the right direction the stink could even reach the couple’s home in Stillingfleet – 4.1 miles away.

He said: ‘It drifts in the wind and coms over Stillingfleet and just stops there.’

The Environment Agency said the smell is caused because of ‘unsuitable storage’ of the waste and also said the operators have not complied with their permit.

They also said they ordered the operators to ‘produce an action plan to resolve this issue as soon as possible’ and visited the site in May after receiving complaints.

A spokesperson also said the smell is coming from ‘waste fines’ – the leftover mechanical treatment of a mixture of construction-demolition waste.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: ‘The odour has been caused from unsuitable storage conditions of waste on the site, which is a mixture of municipal waste and construction-demolition waste.

‘We have worked swiftly with the operator to require them to produce an action plan to resolve this problem as soon as possible.

‘The removal of the degrading waste materials to a facility that can offer appropriate treatment or disposal is currently underway but unfortunately could cause increased odour issues while it is moved.’

They also said anyone with concerns about the smell should report them to its incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Acumen Waste Services have been contacted for a comment.

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