The environment minister said half of Defra’s written communications about composting were complaints about odour.
In a written answer, Richard Benyon said that 20 out of 40 letters received by Defra in the past three years were regarding composting smells.
Benyon also said the Environment Agency (EA), which regulates and enforces waste management facilities, “recorded 1,629 substantiated complaints about composting facilities, including about odour, over the same period.”
This was in response to a question from Charles Walker, Conservative MP for Broxbourne. Walker asked about the number of complaints received about odour from windrow composting in the past three years.
The EA’s latest Sustainable Business Report 2012 noted that out of 109 serious incidents involving odour, smoke dust or noise in 2011, 88% were caused by sites involved in waste activities and more than half of these involved odour.
MRW reported last month that anaerobic digestion and in-vessel composting company Agrivert was facing a group legal action over the odour from its facility in Ardley, Oxfordshire.
This followed the Barr versus Biffa legal case in spring 2012, in which the same legal firm, Hugh James, represented 152 local residents in Ware complaining of odour from a landfill site.