Residents’ dog food plant fight

The removal of 18 tonnes of dog biscuits dumped by Welham Estates.
The removal of 18 tonnes of dog biscuits dumped by Welham Estates.

Residents whose lives were blighted by a smelly dog food plant have claimed victory after the company lost its appeal against the decision to strip it of its licence.

Belton-based Welham Estates lost appeals against the revocation of its licence and refusal to vary the environmental permit conditions after the planning inspector confirmed the council had no option but to take action.

The company, which went into administration in January, had its permit withdrawn by North Lincolnshire Council in November 2012 after a string of complaints about smells caused by the Belton Road plant, and failure to dispose of waste properly. The company was previously fined £10,000 for burying 18 tonnes of dog biscuits in 2012.

A new company set to take over the plant has pledged to work with the community and use a different production method to ensure no environmental issues arise.

North Lincolnshire’s environmental team said Welham Estates had a poor record of complying with earlier regulatory requirements and other enforcement tools had been exhausted

A North Lincolnshire Council spokesperson said: “We will take action where a company fails to comply with the law.

“Many people complained about the offensive smells and it is our duty to investigate. We are pleased with the outcome. It sends out a strong message that, where all else fails, we will take legal action.”

Complaints, included bad smells, burning and burying of rubbish and rats among decomposing bakery waste.

The council received an application for a new environmental permit on the site from Belton Pet Foods Ltd in March and is working with the new company to secure the necessary improvement at the site.

The site would no longer use bakery and bread waste in its manufacturing process – thought to be the major cause of the smells.

Belton Pet Foods director John Walgate said: “Our company is a family owned responsible manufacturer, which has traded for over 100 years in the north of England.

“Crucially, we will not be producing pet food using food surplus products in the way that Welham Estates did, which we suspect was a large part of previous problems.

“We only use locally grown cereals in our process and have been operating at our current site for over 25 years without any environmental issues.”