We can't go outside over smell of rotting flesh from nearby chicken factory – it been making us sick for 10 YEARS | The Sun

NEIGHBOURS of a chicken factory avoid going outside because of the "repulsive" stench of rotting flesh.

Bosses of the Banham Poultry factory in Attleborough, Norfolk, have been slapped with a £300,000 fine as the foul smell has plagued the area for a decade.


Residents told how they keep doors and windows closed and steer clear of their gardens to escape the “nauseating” stench.

Some have been left gagging and even vomiting because of the the stink.

Complaints about the abattoir and processing plant led to the firm being fined £300,000 last month after it was prosecuted by the Environment Agency.

The prosecution followed an investigation that revealed blood from poultry was flooding the slaughterhouse floor around a staircase and a lorry, partly due to drains being blocked.

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Chelmsford magistrates court in Essex hard how water from where chickens were washed “sat unhygienically” on the floor of the abattoir.

Investigators also found broken or damaged doors and walls, allowing foul smells to escape, and a roof so weak that it collapsed.

Another part of the site which has a licence to slaughter more than one million birds a week was deemed to be so unsafe that Environment Agency staff were not allowed to enter.

People living in nearby streets were overpowered by “a constant whiff from the abattoir” which peaked during the Covid lockdowns of 2020.

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Retired police officer Peter Shaw, 70, who lives less than 100 yards away from the plant, said he had submitted 94 complaints about the company between 2019 and 2021.

He said: “The smell used to be like decaying bodies. It was just horrendous and it has only recently got a little better.

“But although it is nowhere near as bad, I smelt it again when I took my dog for a walk beside the factory. I just want it to stop.

“We have lived here for ten years and we have put up with the smell all that time. It used to be so bad that we could not go outside or put washing on the line."

Peter and wife Lesley, 70, said that Banham Poultry was originally based “in the middle of nowhere” in rural Norfolk, until their old premises were destroyed by fire around 25-years-ago.

The firm then moved to a former cider factory in Attleborough.

Retired engineer Barry Hills, 81, said he had been plagued by “terrible” smells at his home in Blenheim Way, Attleborough.

He said: “There were problems when they were storing waste products from slaughtered chickens in big containers.

“In the summers especially when it was warm, the containers would be left out and the stink would be incredible.

'STOMACH CHURNING'

“I used to enjoy walking on the local fields, but I had to stop.

“We used to get invaded by seagulls which would be attracted by the chicken remains lying around."

Education consultant Rachel Oner, 53, who lives with husband Apo in Blenheim Drive, said she was "physically sick" because of the stench.

She added: “It got to the stage where I couldn’t take it any more. Luckily I made it to the loo, but it shows how bad it was even when our windows were closed.

“We have been here since 1997 which was before Banham Poultry moved here. But the smell just became worse and worse once they arrived. It was appalling and stomach churning.”

Charity worker Owen Smith, 21, who lives opposite the factory, said: “I notice it every now and then. It is horrendous at times, especially in the summer when it gets magnified by the heat.

“But you will go a week or two without smelling anything, and then another day it will be really pungent.”

Banham Poultry admitted charges of failing to keep activities free from odour levels likely to cause pollution outside the abattoir between January 2019 and September 2021.

It also admitted not complying with an enforcement notice served on it by the Environment Agency that set out steps they should have taken to limit or prevent odours leaving the site.

'WE STINK'

The Environment Agency recorded smells 86 times outside the abattoir from the start of 2019 to September last year, ranging from faint to very strong.

The public body initially warned the company to act after nine complaints about the slaughterhouse were made early in 2019 to its previous owner.

Investigators gave the firm an enforcement notice to limit or prevent odours leaving the boundary of the abattoir.

Another member of staff wrote in an e-mail in 2019 that they were “embarrassed” and couldn’t defend the company’s poor management of the site.

The employee added: “We stink”.

Sophie Cousins, who led the investigation into the abattoir for the EA, said multiple warnings to the firm were often ignored.

District judge Andrew King acknowledged that practices at Banham Poultry had a “significant effect on quality of life” in the town

As well as fining the firm £300,000, he ordered Banham Poultry to pay £67,621 in costs and a victim surcharge of £170.

A spokesperson for Banham Poultry said the firm had been taken over in October 2021, and the new management team had since shown a "commitment to being a good neighbour and are keen to play a positive role in the local community".

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The spokesperson added: "The Environment Agency has been pleased with the progress made since the new owners took over.

"Banham will continue to work very hard to eliminate these issues in the future."





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