Legal action on factory smell

Householders are taking a food processing company to the High Court to try to stop the smell they say emerges from its plant.

Householders are taking a food processing company to the High Court to try to stop the smell they say emerges from its plant.

Barry Hills, of Blenheim Drive, Attleborough, is seeking damages of up to £50,000 and an injunction against Grampian Convenience Foods.

He claims that he and his neighbours are swathed in an “unpleasant cooking smell” from its nearby plant in Buckenham Road.

Mr Hills and his wife live about 140 metres from the plant. He says that since 1998 residents in the area have “suffered odours, greasy smuts, noise and other pollutants emitted from the premises”.

In a writ, his solicitors Richard Buxton Environ-mental and Public Law claim the odours have been caused by Grampian's food cooking and processing operations and because the company has “failed to install and operate odour prevention and reduction equipment that is adequate or fit for purpose”.

They cite two examples: one where a boiler used to reduce odours exploded and caught fire in January this year and in March when the plant's thermo-cat emissions reduction unit broke down and has still not been repaired.

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They claim that the residents are at the end of their tether after Breckland Council environmental health, residents' liaison meetings and correspondence with the company has failed to sort out the problem.

“A timetable was proposed last year that included, among other things, that all odours and other pollutants would be resolved by the end of February 2007,” the writ says.

“This date has passed and it is unreasonable to expect that the claimant and other residents should suffer the continuing odours.

“Unless restrained by order of this court the defendant threatens and intends, to continue to cause or permit the odours and thus to continue to commit a nuisance and cause further loss and damage to the claimant.”

They are claiming damages for how the smell has impacted on the Hills' ability to enjoy their home and how the problems have reduced the value of their property.

A spokesman for Grampian Convenience Foods said the company would not comment because of legal proceedings being active.

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