RESIDENTS near to the High Heavens waste site in Clay Lane, Booker, Great Marlow, last week told of their disgust at a terrible odour blighting their summer.
But CRS Bio, the firm which runs the facility for the county council, has this week strenuosly denied the smell is emanating from the site and launched a robust defence of its operations.
Here, in a message to readers, Steve Sharratt, OBE, Chief Executive of the Group which owns CRS Bio, explains more.
As Chief Executive of the Group which owns CRS Bio, which operates the High Heavens composting facility, I was frustrated to read the report in the Bucks Free Press last week about our site.
We’re proud of our faciltiy and our operating standards – it’s operated by local people who are passionate about what they do and we were all extremely concerned to read that people feel there are any offensive odours coming from our site. I can assure readers of the Bucks Free Press that the offensive odours described in the article do not come from our operations.
Some residents have referred to a strong chemical smell. There is nothing on our site or in our process that is capable of producing such an odour. We have already identified what we believe to be the source of this nuisance elsewhere and have advised the Environment Agency so that it can take action accordingly.
Some residents have also complained of a burnt carbon smell. This is not produced from any material or process of ours. Again, we have told the Envrionment Agency about illegal fires on land in the vicinity of High Heavens. These are nothing to do with us - we have no control over them.
Our operation has been carefully and expertly designed to minimise odour and produce a good, clean product.
Given the nature of composting, we could never guarantee that the site will always be entirely odour-free but we can say with absolute conviction that any occasional smells are of compost, extremely localised and not unpleasant.
They are certainly not of rotting vegetation, carbon, chemicals or similar, nor extending for miles as described in the article last week.
At this time of year, our beautiful countryside has a variety of smells. Our hard working farmers apply manures, slurries and compost to their land before ploughing and sowing their crops.
This a fact of life across all rural and semi-rural communities. The resulting odours appear to be particularly strong this year, perhaps due to the unusually wet weather.
We took over the operation of High Heavens in 2008. We were asked to take it over because it performs an important function for the community in recycling waste and reducing greenhouse gases from landfill. The compost we produce also replaces chemical ferilisers from our fields, making our crops stronger and healthier, naturally.
Before 2008, the facility was the cause of constant complaints from residents throughout the year. I am proud that, with our local team on-site, we have transformed the operation and we will continue to strive to improve what we do.
Our neighbours are important to us. We don’t hide away – we hold quarterly community meetings and any local resident is welcome to visit us any time. Whenever there is a suggestion of odour coming from the site, we investigate every single instance and seek to track its source.
We will continue to work closely and pro-actively with the Environment Agency to ensure they target where any offensive smells are coming from in our community so that they can take the appropiate action. We urge readers to do the same, so that togther we can tackle the problem. And if, on occasion, we are responsible for a compost smell, we will do what we can to prevent it in the future.
At High Heavens we are committed to doing our job, producing good, healthy compost and being part of our local community.