A company in Middlesbrough specialising in anaerobic digestion has been ordered to pay £19,670 for odour pollution.
BioConstruct NewEnergy, operating in Imperial Avenue, pleaded guilty at Teesside Magistrates Court to offences which occurred in July 2018.
Chris Bunting, prosecuting on behalf of the Environment Agency, told the court the firm’s facility, which produces electricity from various types of waste including food and liquids, had affected the nearby travellers’ site at The Haven through odours drifting from the plant.
In July last year, the plant went through some maintenance, “causing up to four days’ misery” for the local residents, most of whom decided to move out because of the smell.
Environment Agency officers visited the plant and were told overseas contractors were responsible, as the company didn’t known how to properly carry out the maintenance.
However, Mr Bunting said BioConstruct NewEnergy had to take responsibility as it holds the environmental permit for the site, which requires the company to prevent or minimise pollution.
During the same inspection, officers found around 30 large containers of pink liquid which the company was storing illegally.
Jamie Fletcher, Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, added: “We take issues that greatly impact upon the local community very seriously and in the case of BioConstruct NewEnergy Ltd it affected people on a variety of different levels.
“The odours emitted were so intrusive that it made families from the nearby registered travelling community site actually leave their homes for over four weeks. We have to act when insufficient maintenance planning results in widespread disruption and potential hazardous impact on the environment. All of these repercussions were preventable with appropriate management and consideration for people in the surrounding area.”
Richard Arnot apologised on behalf of BioConstruct NewEnergy and explained improvements had been made to the company’s management systems.
ELN has contacted BioConstruct NewEnergy for a statement.