Leeds family’s human rights plea over stinky industrial neighbour

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A PLANNING decision over the expansion of a household waste sorting plant in Leeds has been deferred, after people living nearby said they can no longer tolerate odours coming from it.

A meeting of Leeds city council’s South and West Plans Panel heard the plant at St Bernard’s Mill, Gildersome was already having a “significant impact” on local families, specifically the inhabitants of Rooms Farm, which is just yards from the facility.

And the homeowners have invoked the Human Rights Act Article 8 - the right to a family life - amid complaints that the odours are making their lives a misery.

Nicola Howgate, who lives at Rooms Farm, told the meeting: “The odour deprives us of the right to enjoy our garden.

“The odours increase in warmer conditions.

“It would be unjust to allow this.”

She told the meeting that she has raised the matter “hundreds of times with different authorities up to different levels”.

“Our home is no longer a home,” she said.

“Our children cannot play out. Sometimes, if they have, they have been sick because of the stench of it.”

Despite the concerns, the meeting was told that the principle of the planning application - to expand the waste transfer building but without increasing the annual waste quota it dealt with - was acceptable.

The panel was also told that some elements of the application would “regularise the bits where they are not operating to regulation”.

“If we were to refuse, it would not stop municipal waste going on the site,” one panel member pointed out.

The meeting heard from representatives of the Environment Agency, who confirmed that a suspension notice had been served on the facility last year because the smell had gotten particularly bad. However they said that the notice - served because the firm “was not doing everything that it could to deal with the odour - had eventually been lifted. This was after monitoring was stepped up and the company was given a fortnight to clean up its act, which it did. The site is now taking “all appropriate measures”, the panel was told.

Councillors deferred their decision on the application until the signing of a list of conditions by the applicant.

PIC: Simon Hulme

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