Village plagued by the pong steps up fight against firm

Who'd live here? Campaigners Beverley Barker and Jason Smith give the Queensbury welcome sign the thumbs-down
Who'd live here? Campaigners Beverley Barker and Jason Smith give the Queensbury welcome sign the thumbs-down
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CAMPAIGNERS are stepping up their fight against the firm behind the gruesome offal spills and foul stench plaguing Queensbury.

Swalesmoor Action Group has drawn up a list of demands for animal-waste company Omega Proteins after two major spills from its lorries.

Earlier this month, a motorcyclist was thrown from his bike after skidding on guts in Halifax Road.

Just over a week before, children found intestines and organs splattered near Foxhill Primary School.

Beverley Barker, Swalesmoor Action Group spokeswoman, said: “The spillages are devastating for the people whose houses they happen near.”

The group is calling for raw waste to be transported in tankers or frozen in bulk containers fitted with spill guards in the wake of the incidents.

They are the latest in a string of grievances against the company, which turns animal waste into meat and bonemeal (MBM) and tallow, used for pet food and fuel.

Rotting carcasses are stored at its site in Swalesmoor Road, Halifax, then taken through Queensbury to its Bradford rendering plant, Erlings Works.

Residents complain this causes a foul smell to linger in the area and the noise from the lorries disrupts sleep. Mrs Barker said: “We’re sick of the stench, we’re sick of the spillages and really, people are sick of the inconvenience.

“You don’t know when you can hang your washing out.

“You don’t know when you can use your garden, because you can’t plan for whether a smelly lorry is going to go past.”

The company has been prosecuted a number of times, most recently in May when it was fined £20,000 for breaching an environmental permit.

It also admitted breaching planning conditions limiting vehicle movements in and out of its Bradford site at an inquiry last November.

Campaigners say tough action now needs to be taken. As well as measures to prevent more spillages, they want:

l The fallen stock and MBM stores at Swalesmoor Road to moved to the Bradford site

l No lorries through Queensbury overnight

l Planning conditions to be complied with

l The company to work with Calderdale Council to make the Swalesmoor junction with the A647 safe.

The group has also joined forces with UKIP activist Jason Smith to examine the European laws governing the company’s operations.

Mr Smith said: “We have contacted our researchers in Brussels who are scrutinising the legislation and we hope to have a clear view of what the legislation allows and does not allow shortly.”

A spokesman for the Leo Group, which owns Omega Proteins, said the firm was forced to store waste at Swalesmoor due to planning conditions at Erlings Works.

He said: “We would be delighted if we could have round-the- clock access to Erlings Works.

“This would remove the need to transport material through the streets of Queensbury. However the decision about access rests with the local authority.”

He added: “The recent spillages were due to driver error and one employee has subsequently been dismissed.

“This shows how seriously we take our responsibilities.

“We are fully compliant with all legislation and follow best practice in our transportation methods.

“We maintain and run a very modern fleet of vehicles which is continually updated. All vehicles are subject to daily inspection and stringent checks.”

l Comment: Page 12