HOPES are high that progress is being made on tackling the long running issue of an odour blighting residents in North Swindon.

For years a lingering smell, with reports varying from rubbish to sulphur, seems to descend at any time and has regularly made the lives of residents in Priory Vale a misery.

Residents have contacted the Environment Agency but they have never been able to pinpoint the exact location. But on January 20 inspectors confirmed there was an odour and ordered action be taken at the nearby Chapel Farm Landfill site, a long suspected cause.

It is used for dumping of rubbish and gas emanating from the tip is collected and burnt for energy. Hills Waste, which runs the site, was asked to install two points in the tipping area which were hooked up to the gas extraction system so more gas could be burnt to reduce the smell.

Further investigations were carried out using gas detection equipment and areas of the site were identified so a quantity of clay was delivered earlier this week to cap the areas to prevent further leakage.

Hills Waste has also been asked to keep tipping to a size which minimisessmell being created.

Coun Emma Faramarzi (Con, Priory Vale) has been in regular contact with both the Environment Agency and Hills Waste.

She said: “I am very relieved that now the Environment Agency has actually detected the smell and they have been able to take some action. That is not to say this is the last of it but at least something is being done.

“I am very pleased because this is something I have been pushing for some time. Hopefully the problem will come to an end as the site is due to close later this year as a result of the new refuse derived fuel plant.”

A spokesman for Hills said: “Hills operates the Chapel Farm landfill site under strict licence and permit conditions, which is regulated by the Environment Agency. It operates the site to a high standard using best practice methods and no recent changes have been made in the way Hills operates the site.

“We encourage members of the public with any concerns or complaints to make contact with us so that we can deal with them promptly via our website.”