AN ANIMAL rendering plant in Thornton has apologised after residents complained of being plagued by a ‘disgusting smell' earlier this week.

Residents in Thornton claimed the smell was so bad it prevented them from opening their windows during the warm weather and spread through their village on Monday.

The Leo Group, which owns and operates the Omega Proteins site on Half Acre Road in Thornton, said it had receiving an "unprecedented amount of material" from across the country due to a rise in welfare issues on pig and poultry farms.

The heat also created a problem with the thermal oxidiser, leading to smells "temporarily escaping" from the site - although the company pointed out that backup equipment was "immediately brought online."

Ian Walker, who lives in Thornton, said: “It has been so bad that it made me feel sick.

"We couldn’t sit outside during the hot weather because it’s just absolutely disgusting."

Cllr Sue Duffy (Thornton and Allerton, Lab) said: “We have received several complaints and have contacted officers who are looking into why the recently replaced thermal oxidiser, which is the primary odour control system for the most odorous emissions from the Omega Plant is not working and what can be done urgently to resolve the issue.”

Today, the Leo Group apologised for the issue ‘brought about by the severe heat.’ 

A spokesperson said: “The record high temperatures never before experienced in the UK have resulted in increased welfare issues on pig and poultry farms, which in turn has seen us transporting and receiving an unprecedented amount of material from all over the country.

“The heat also led to a problem with the thermal oxidiser, leading to odours temporarily escaping from the site. The backup thermal oxidiser was immediately brought online.
“This action, coupled with slightly lower temperatures, has seen the issue ease and our engineers are working around the clock to repair the new oxidiser.

“Thanks to significant investment in this plant, which is one of the most modern of its kind in the world, and the addition of new odour abatement technology, site personnel were able to quickly bring a second thermal oxidiser online. The investment has also led to the overall improvement in site performance.

“We are working closely with colleagues in Bradford Council’s Environmental Health team and will continue to do until the matter is fully resolved.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said that investigations point to the cause being a failure of a significant element of the odour control system and a backup system will remain in use until the main system is fixed but all odour control systems are currently functioning normally.