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MP holds 'stink summit'

MP Derek Wyatt
MP Derek Wyatt

by Jan Thom

Laws licensing the spreading of waste sewage and paper sludge on land will be changed unless strict new guidelines are adhered to.

Swale Borough Council was bombarded with more than 120 complaints from residents and holiday makers about the foul stench that hung over Sheppey and Sittingbourne last month.

The stench was caused by treated sewage from Thames Water, sold as fertiliser, which is spread on land awaiting ploughing.

Now the Environment Agency is set to work with Swale council and local farmers to draw up an agreement on the control of spreading to try and make sure the stink is a thing of the past.

The move follows a meeting today called by MP Derek Wyatt who met Environment Agency and NFU representatives as well as Swale Borough Council officers, borough and parish councillors.

The agreement terms are expected to be stricter than national regulations, and will see the Environment Agency being more closely involved in the monitoring of sewage sludge.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Wyatt said: “Spreading these kinds of materials is an important part of farming, and stops waste products going into waterworks or landfills.

"We are not suggesting that farmers in Swale stop spreading, but after a particularly bad summer it was important to make sure that regulations were being followed."

For more on this story, see this week's Sittingbourne Messenger.

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