Bristol

Waste firm breached rules near fly-infested homes

New Earth Solutions sign
Image caption The firm has breached guidelines over the amount of waste stored

A waste company close to fly-infested homes has breached environmental rules more than a dozen times in a year.

People living in Avonmouth in Bristol have complained for more than a decade over the number of flies and have linked them to nearby waste firms.

One company, New Earth Solutions, stored "excessive" waste outside, where inspectors saw a number of flies.

The company has not commented but the Environment Agency said breaches were not linked to the rise in flies.

But residents living nearby said the problem was so bad "they might as well live under mosquito nets".

BBC Inside Out West discovered the rule breaches over the 12 months from July 2018.

Environment Agency (EA) inspectors found 5,000 bales of waste were being stored there at the end of June and told the firm it was "considered to be storing waste in excess of the set limits".

Image caption Residents say they are plagued by flies

They also said "flies are noticeable outside of the processing halls, basking on the bales stored immediately outside the building and residual wastes spilt on the aprons, caused by vehicle movements".

The EA reports also said the management "accepted [it] has exceeded the quantity that can be processed and removed without causing a build-up of onsite materials".

Despite inspectors noticing more flies at the plant, a statement from the EA insisted there was no link.

"Monitoring of fly numbers does not appear to show a link between reports of flies in Avonmouth and the increase in bales stored outside New Earth Solutions," a statement said.

The organisation said New Earth Solutions was "making progress in clearing the backlog".

Image caption Ian Robinson has been campaigning over the fly plague

Campaigner and resident Ian Robinson said he did not agree with that view and said the EA had "fingers in their ears" over the complaints.

"Of course it's contributing," he said.

"Seeing as those bales are getting ripped by seagulls, by rats, they're being damaged by being moved, they're falling over [and] they're not being stacked correctly."

He has called on the Environment Agency to take enforcement action against the firm.

The city council has previously said it took concerns "seriously" but had "found no issues".

Local MP Darren Jones has written to the Environment Secretary to ask for more powers for the EA to deal with organisations that breach their environmental permits.

More on this story can be seen on Inside Out on BBC1 in the West at 19:30 BST on Monday 16 September and afterwards on iPlayer.

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