29 September 2011

Can you smell something in Hoo?

If you live in Hoo or the surrounding area, you might have noticed an unsual smell sweeping across the village in the past few days. I can now confirm its cause - thanks to information supplied by the Environment Agency (below).

Press Statement - Odours from Chatham Docks

The Environment Agency, which regulates waste legislation in England and Wales, is actively working with the owner and operator of Chatham Docks, Peel Ports, to resolve the current odour issues being experienced in the area surrounding the docks.

The root cause of the odour is from stockpiles of wood chip that are being stored at the site prior to onward shipment to Sweden where the material is used in the generation of heat and electricity. Recent movements of the wood chip, that had been on the dockside for longer than is typically expected, resulted in the release of odours associated with the natural degradation of the wood. These odours have been carried off site by the wind, and have caused a nuisance to those living near the site.

We have prioritised our efforts on this site and the activities that are giving rise to the odours. We have recommended a number of measures to minimise the smell. Peel Ports have plans in place to ensure that the material will be moved to Sweden as soon as possible and are bringing equipment on to the site to minimise the problem in the interim. These measures will include suppression systems designed to control airborne particles and odours.

Jon Griffin, Senior Environment Officer said "We understand that strong odour can cause a lot of distress to communities. This site and the reported issues are a top priority and we are working with the operator, Peel Ports, to resolve the problems related to their activities as quickly as possible. In the interim we would appreciate anyone who is experiencing odour and dust problems to call our hotline on 0800 807060."

Environment Agency - Kent and South London