201611.16

Is Your Life Blighted by Nasty Smells? You are not Powerless!

Nasty industrial smells are a grave blight on people’s lives but one case, concerning an odour of rotten eggs said to have emanated from a vegetable processing plant, showed that taking legal advice and complaining to your local council in an organised manner can be highly effective.

The source of the smell was alleged to be lagoons in which the company that ran the plant stored effluent left over from peeling and washing vegetables. The company denied that it was responsible for the odour. However, in response to more than 400 complaints from local people, the local authority applied for a High Court injunction on the basis that the smell amounted to a statutory nuisance.

That application was in the event withdrawn when the company took practical steps to abate any smells that might be coming from the lagoons. Malodorous effluent was removed from them and the company said that it would seal them with covers before filling them again. The council took the view that it was unnecessary to pursue the injunction application, its objective having been achieved.

In ruling on where the substantial legal costs of the case should lie, the Court found that the council had acted properly and responsibly in making the application, which had served to bring matters to a head. However, acknowledging that the application had been withdrawn and that no injunction had ultimately been issued, the Court directed that each side should pay its own legal costs.

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