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A LANDFILL which is the source of a smell making residents’ lives a misery in North Swindon has re-opened, despite the odour still lingering.

The Environment Agency has received 200 complaints about the Chapel Farm Site. As a result, earlier this month the landfill closed so work could be done to try and solve the problem.

Heavy machinery was brought in to install 14 new wells so Hills Waste, which runs the site, can capture the gas.

However, although some residents in the Redhouse and Oakhurst areas have complained, the site re-opened.

Hills has acknowledged there may still be a problem but the work they have done so far will be improved when the site is fuller.

Group director Mike Webster said: “The best case scenario is to place a permanent clay cap on the landfill site. “To achieve this, the site has to be filled to a certain level so we have taken the decision to reopen the site now that the work to install the additional gas infrastructure is completed. “In addition, the number of complaints has dropped significantly which indicatesthe work undertaken is proving effective.”

Since the site closed, 14 new gas wells have been connected, temporary clay capping on identified areas of gas emission has been put in place and the size of the tipping area has been reduced.

Mr Webster said: “This is a very difficult situation as we have complied with the requirements specified by the Environment Agency to minimise odours.

“It is important to understand that some odours will occur while the site remains uncapped and our decision to open the site again will expedite its permanent closure later this year. “We appreciate residents are frustrated and we would like to assure them we are doing all we can to reduce odours.”

The landfill is due to close later this year and the Environment Agency will monitor the site until it is no longer a potential problem, which is expected to be for the next 60 years. During this time it will be Hills’ responsibility to deal with any issues.

The EA has been monitoring the recent work and will continue to conduct regular inspections.

A spokesman said: “Following the completion of work drilling and connecting wells to minimise gas release from the site, Hills Waste have advised us Chapel Farm Landfill has re-opened.

“We do not believe the odours experienced have been related to the daily tipping of waste on site. “Therefore, re-opening of the site should not impact upon the actions that have been taken to reduce odour, but we will be monitoring the situation closely. “The Environment Agency will ensureHills take the necessary steps to comply with their permit to control odour.”

Coun Emma Faramarzi (Con, Priory Vale) said: “The problem we have is that while the site is closing in six months, we could have a problem for up to 35 years.

“If the smell persists the next course of action will be to ask for cross party support to contact the Environment Minister and ask him to take action.”