A whiff of despair

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PONGS from Polmont are making their way to Linlithgow and some locals worry it will only get worse over the summer.

The Avondale landfill site in Polmont has long raised complaints from local residents about sulphuric smells. But the odours seem to be spreading, with reports of gassy smells reaching Linlithgow Bridge and residential areas such as Strawberry Bank. Complainants say the whiff gets worse on approaching the Lathallan roundabout, and could drive people away who may want to come for a visit.

Bruce McCallum, of Avon Drive in Linlithgow Bridge, said: “I smell it every morning. It catches the back of my throat when I drive from Linlithgow to Grangemouth. It’s sulphuric and rancid - it’s got worse over the last few months and my worry is when the better weather comes, the smell will be all over the place.”

Some residents hoped that with the addition of a new recycling facility at Avondale in February, smells may have reduced or disappeared, as it is powered by renewable electricity from the smelly methane gas. But this has not been the case.

Whitecross has also been affected and Shelley Morrison (36) of Bayne Gardens said: “There was one occasion I had to shut the windows and I can’t always hang the washing out. It smells like rotting - it’s a gassy, noxious smell. I don’t smell it every day-it depends on the wind direction. But you can on the Falkirk Road where people come off the motorway - it could put people off coming here.”

A public meeting in January discussed the issue with residents, Avondale bosses and SEPA. This week, SEPA confirmed they had received complaints from Linlithgow residents regarding the landfill site and said they were in regular discussions with Avondale.

After asking for a full review of Avondale’s landfill gas management system, they highlighted improvements made, such as a new landfill gas transfer main, improving the effectiveness of landfill gas collection, reducing the potential for gas odour.

A number of existing structures within landfill cells were also identified as possible ways for landfill gas to escape and Avondale has provided additional seals to stop this from happening, among other improvements to reduce gas leakage.

John Holt, director at Avondale, said they were aware of the issues and had been tackling them since the public meeting in January.

He said: “All landfill sites produce methane gas as waste decomposes but we are working on ways to reduce the smelly emissions. Linlithgow is quite far away from the landfill and on occasions we can be blamed for other smells but we have been assessing all our working processes and have spent thousands of pounds improving the way we manage the site.

‘‘The problem has not been resolved but we are making significant progress. We are doing everything we can, and we will continue to do this.”

Avondale Environmental Limited has a 24-hour helpline on 01324 71096 for people to contact them regarding issues they have as a result of site operations.