A Bristol MP is now demanding the closure of some of the “worst offending” waste firms in Avonmouth – and said it is the only way to rid the area of its regular fly nightmare.
Darren Jones said there are “too many” waste businesses, too close together and too close to residents’ homes, after another week of misery for residents in a three-mile radius around the port suburb.
People living in Avonmouth Village, Shirehampton, Hallen, Lawrence Weston and other areas nearby told Bristol Live earlier this week that “normal life was impossible”, because of the swarms of flies invading their homes, cars and gardens.
It’s an annual problem and comes with any spell of warm or humid weather – but they said this year the problem was the worst its ever been, and people living further away from Avonmouth said they were affected too.
The Labour MP has been criticised by some residents in the past for not being tough enough on what locals say is the source of the flies – the growing number of waste treatment businesses in Avonmouth.
But now he said that things have gone too far – and that some of the businesses there either needed to move away or close completely, to save the residents from this nightmare.
(Image: Jade Kendall)
“I was born and grew up in Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton, so I know how frustrating this is for my constituents,” he said.
“And as the local MP I share the frustration of local residents that this is becoming a more frequent problem.
“Since my election in 2017 I have secured upgrades to waste processing plants and processes in Avonmouth.
“Working in partnership with the Environment Agency, Bristol City Council and local businesses we have seen a ban on open air storage of waste, tighter turnaround times on the delivery and transport of waste products and upgrades to factory doors, roofs and processes.
“However, this is still clearly an issue and whist I supported and voted for stronger enforcement powers for the Environment Agency in Parliament this just can’t go on.
“I’m now left with no choice but to call on the Government to close and/or move some of the waste processing facilities in Avonmouth,” he added.
(Image: Dan Regan/BristolLive)
Mr Jones said the problem started getting worse after the city council changed the planning policy for Avonmouth in 2011 to “welcome waste processing businesses”.
“This has led to the increase in waste processing in Avonmouth,” he said.
“While our current mayor, Marvin Rees, is trying to install a ‘regulated border’ to keep polluting businesses away from residential areas, it’s clear that we now have too many waste processing facilities, too close together and too close to residents.
“The only solution is therefore to demand that we close and/or move the worst offending businesses,” he added.
Mr Jones said, after reading Bristol Live’s reports of the plight of the people living in the area, he had written to the Secretary of State to demand that the powers to close down the waste processing plants be given to the Environment Agency.
“I have today written to the Secretary of State to call for these powers to be given to the Environment Agency and I have asked the House of Commons library for research into any existing powers that can be used today.
“Lastly, I’d encourage my constituents to keep registering their complaints with the Environment Agency and Bristol City Council,” he added.
Bristol Live contacted New Earth Solutions, the largest waste firm in Avonmouth and the one most often cited as the source of the flies by local residents, and was told no one was available to comment at either the Avonmouth plant or the head office in Dorset.
Bristol Live contacted Bristol City Council for a response to this issue on Tuesday afternoon, and is yet to receive a formal response.