FRUSTRATED campaigners have issued an ultimatum to a Northwich waste plant: 'Stop the smells or you must close'.

Smells from the Renescience operation at Lostock have been a long-standing issue for the community for many years, despite repeated attempts to improve the situation.

Now, after the latest complaint over the weekend from a nearby car dealership, community leaders Cllr Sam Naylor and Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury have given the waste processing plant three months to act.

If regular smell complaints haven't stopped in that time, the pair will publicly ask the Environment Agency (EA) to withdraw its operating permit.

Cllr Naylor said: “Everyone is at their wit’s end; the community has had enough.

"The time is coming now where, if this is not sorted out within a three-month timeframe, we will be asking the EA to withdraw the permit and for the plant to close.”

He added: “Local councillors feel as though we’ve been duped because you go back to the original meetings addressed by those delivering the project.

"I asked would there be any kind of smells associated with this process and they said ‘no, it’s tried and tested’."

Northwich Guardian: (L-R) Cllr Sam Naylor (Lab, Northwich Witton), Ørsted vice president Hanne Risbjerg Sørensen, Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury and then head of site Mark Williams. (L-R) Cllr Sam Naylor (Lab, Northwich Witton), Ørsted vice president Hanne Risbjerg Sørensen, Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury and then head of site Mark Williams. (Image: Mike Amesbury)

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury added: "People are having to put up with a disgusting odour on a regular basis.

"Between the EA and the environmental protection team of Cheshire West and Chester Council, robust action must be taken immediately.

"We know the parent company Ørsted has invested heavily in odour abatement equipment in response to complaints. But the bottom line is, it hasn’t solved the problem.

“Cllr Sam Naylor and I previously said we would call for the operating permit to be withdrawn if we did not see substantial progress. Well, it’s now one minute to midnight. 

“I don’t say this lightly, but if this is not sorted in three months’ time then we will be calling for the permit to be removed and for the plant to close."

Both Mr Amesbury and Cllr Naylor have attended site visits and numerous meetings, including with parent company Ørsted’s vice president Hanne Risbjerg Sørensen.

An Ørsted spokesman for the project said: "We have been actively working with our local stakeholders and the Environment Agency to respond to concerns, acting rapidly and investigating complaints of odour at source, as well as at complainants' locations.

"Each time, we investigate thoroughly and sometimes we have been able to link an odour to our site but this is not always the case.

"Regularly, there are occasions when there is no issue on site, leaving us unable to take responsibility for other sources of odour. 

Northwich Guardian: Exterior of the Renescience site in NorthwichExterior of the Renescience site in Northwich (Image: Mike Amesbury)

"We have remained in close communication with our neighbours throughout, ensuring they are aware of maintenance and planned improvements that are being carried out at site. 

We absolutely recognise the frustration and have made significant progress with months at a time without a complaint.

"We remain committed to continue solving the situation, investing in state of the art odour abatement and working with our neighbours and the Environment Agency to keep them informed."

Ørsted are reportedly searching for new owners for the site, according to the company’s 2022 annual report.