Councillors’ concerns at ‘nasty stink’

Coun Michelle Collins at the Shanks waste site in South Kirkby.
Coun Michelle Collins at the Shanks waste site in South Kirkby.

Local councillors met with the operators of a waste recycling plant to raise concerns about “a nasty stink”.

Fed-up residents complained a rotten stench was emitted from the Shanks waste site in South Kirkby for more than week.

South Elmsall and South Kirkby councillor Michelle Collins said the odour had now faded. But she, and other ward councillors, met with Shanks representatives to discuss the stink and try to prevent it from plaguing the town again.

Ms Collins said: “We met with Shanks and laid down the issues that lots and lots of people had raised with me regarding the smell.

“They agreed that it was not good enough and they couldn’t do anything other than apologise.

“It was the release of a bio gas that was causing the smell. A safety function of the machinery down there is to release the gas to stop the pressure getting too much. The smell wasn’t coming from the rubbish itself.

“I had several people concerned about health risks and Shanks said they are confident there is no danger to health. They have sent a sample of the gas to be analysed to help reassure people.

“But I took a hard line with them because it is not good enough that people were smelling that .”

Express readers reacted to the smell on Facebook.

Jean Barker said: “Even if it isn’t harmful, it is not something you want to smell when you open your windows on a morning.”

And Nichola Tighe said: “Kids playing out don’t want to be breathing in the smell. They said when this was built that a smell wouldn’t happen.”

Shanks said it hoped to hold two open days at the waste plant next month so people can find out more about how it operates.

A Shanks spokesperson said: “We recently met with three Wakefield Councillors to discuss the temporary odour issues at South Kirkby.

“In the meeting, we explained the causes of the odour to the councillors, all of which were related to the commissioning of the anaerobic digestion plant, which treats organic waste.

“We do a daily gas sample which is analysed in our on-site lab as part of our normal practice. In addition we also regularly send the gas away for independent testing which is normal practice.”

In an earlier statement, the spokesman said the odours released were harmless.

He said Shanks was working with Wakefield Council and the Environment Agency to “learn lessons to improve ongoing odour monitoring” and apologised for any inconvenience caused.