THE PETITION to declare Yorkshire Water a ‘statutory nuisance’ for its Saltend smells was formally tabled at an East Riding Council meeting this morning.
In presenting the petition to the Environment and Regeneration, Overview and Scrutiny Sub-committee, Ray Duffill explained that it was not just a case of one bad summer of odours, but this had been a persistent problem over 11 years. Previous claims that there had been a ‘lack of evidence’ of odours from the site had now been scotched. The 2,405 names on the petition revealed that there was indeed a problem and the Council ought to make preparations now for swift action in the event of more odour incidents after Yorkshire Water’s new Odour Control Unit becomes operational in December.
All three Ward councillors spoke in support of the petition. Councillor Mike Bryan formally supported the petition as Ward Councillor and gave essential background to the issue. Councillor Ann Suggit said that if Yorkshire Water did not sort the problem out (with the Waste Water Treatment Works) “then we should look at getting rid of the site altogether!”
Ward Councillor John Dennis is a member of the Sub-committee. He was advised by a council committee officer that he should not “pre-determine” his views on an issue because it might lead to him being excluded from any discussion or vote on it. However, after seeking re-assurance from the Chair, Cllr Dennis recorded his opposition to the smells. He said that Yorkshire Water was ‘discussing seriously’ the idea of some form of scheme which would ‘compensate’ those communities that had suffered.
Council Public Protection Officer, Paul Abbott, said that his Department understood the strength of feeling on this issue – they had received the highest ever level of complaints on this issue. He said the Council was doing what it could within the Government’s Code of Practice on Waste Water Treatment Works. However, he said that the Council “had to manage the expectations of local people” and it was unrealistic to expect the elimination of all odours from the site.
Mr Abbot also revealed that he would be meeting Yorkshire Water that very afternoon, under the auspices of the statutory nuisance powers, to discuss their progress on this matter.
Senior Managers from Yorkshire Water would be invited to a future meeting of the Sub-committee to present their case for dealing with the odour problem.