A consignment of tonnes of rubbish left at a waste site in Bristol that residents have blamed for a huge plague of flies will be there ‘for the next few weeks’, Environment Agency officials have admitted.
The large amount of waste is being stored at the New Earth Solutions site in Avonmouth and most of it has been loaded up onto a cargo ship to be taken out of the country this week.
But not all has been – and the Environment Agency said it was still there, and would be removed ‘by road’ instead.
The fly problem began a couple of weeks ago in Avonmouth as the first complaints of an early start to the fly season coincided with the arrival of a big consignment of waste to New Earth.
As the weather got suddenly warmer last week with a mini-heatwave, people as far away as Portishead, Pill and Southmead began complaining in their thousands, deluging the city council’s environmental health department, the Environment Agency and signing a petition about the issue.
Local residents who have been monitoring the arrival of train-loads of waste into Avonmouth – which has a number of different waste facilities and takes domestic and industrial rubbish from across the south of England, said there has been an increase in the number of trains and the amount of waste being sent to their community in the past couple of weeks.
There are claims from residents that the number of bales of waste being stored outdoors at New Earth Solutions breaches the firm’s licence – as an investigation by Bristol Live and BBC Inside Out West last summer showed had happened around a dozen times in 2019.
(Image: jon Kent/Bristol Live)
Bristol Live asked the Environment Agency if enforcement action was being taken by them against New Earth Solutions, but they did not answer that question.
Instead an Environment Agency spokesperson said that they had been monitoring what is happening at New Earth Solutions, and Avonmouth’s other sites closely, as well as the fly problem across Bristol.
“In Avonmouth, New Earth Solutions and other sites that the Environment Agency regulates have all implemented their fly management plans and stepped up agreed control measures,” the spokesperson said.
“New Earth Solutions has carried out three insecticide treatments this week while a consignment of baled waste was being loaded onto a ship for export,” he added.
There is hope in Avonmouth that the New Earth Solutions site will be closed down, with the opening nearby of are more modern, enclosed waste facility.
That, or at least a mothballing of the site, appears to be happening, albeit with waste still around for the next few weeks.
The Environment Agency spokesperson added: “Remaining waste will be baled ahead of removal by road over the next few weeks as part of a deep-clean of the facility.”
The EA confirmed it had received ‘a number of’ complaints, and appeared to put that down to the warm weather.
“The Environment Agency has received a number of complaints about flies during recent warm weather, including many from more than 10km from Avonmouth,” he added.
“This is consistent with there being many sources of flies during warmer weather. Many of these sources do not come within the regulatory control of the Environment Agency,” he added.
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People being plagued by flies in their homes in North Somerset, the west and north west of Bristol will be hoping a sudden change to much cooler weather, being forecast to begin overnight on Sunday into Monday, will rapidly decrease the number of flies getting into their homes.