A MYSTERY pong is causing concern for people living in North Swindon.

The Environment Agency and Swindon Council’s environmental health team are working to identify the smell, which has been noticed by residents for the last two to three weeks, mainly in the Oakhurst, Taw Hill and Redhouse areas.

Coun Emma Faramarzi, North Swindon Locality chairman, said: “It could be something like the farmers putting slurry on the fields, but people aren’t stupid and they know the difference when something is natural or not.

“It’s a complete mystery. It’s a mystery to us and the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency have now asked Swindon Council environmental health to come out and investigate as well – it’s a real team effort.

“All I have been doing for this last week is fielding these calls and emails about it from residents.”

Coun Faramarzi said there had been about 100 complaints about the smell on the Priory Vale Facebook page and the Priory Vale Residents’ Association Facebook Page, with people saying they notice it at weekends and overnight.

“Some people are saying it’s like sewage, some people are saying it’s gassy and really strongly sulphury – that’s how they’re describing it to us,” she said.

Coun Faramarzi has opened up a case with the Environment Agency, which she said had investigated the Hills Waste Solutions site, at Chapel Farm, Blunsdon, as a possible source, but officials had not found any evidence it came from there.

She said: “What the Environment Agency have asked me to do is just collect all the comments and keep sending them in.

“What we’re advised is to tell people to keep reporting it over and over and over again because the more they report it the more of a picture the officers can get to try and work out what it is.”

Peter Goodfellow, of Redhouse, said that he had been noticing the smell for months, but it has become more noticeable in the last few weeks.

He said: “It has been going on for a couple of weeks now, it is a pretty pungent smell and is periodic, so it is not there all the time.

“There have been suggestions it is from the farms, but it is not that kind of smell, it is a strong methane and sulphuric smell.

“Emma Faramarzi is in contact with residents and the environment agency and I think residents would just like to know what it is.

“It is not a nice smell and there have been reports of the smell in other parts of Swindon.”

In a letter to Coun Faramarzi, the EA said: “In order to try and get a bigger picture last week, we spoke to the Environmental Health Officer at Swindon Council. She is going to raise the problem across the Environmental Health team and get back to us.

“If residents have any local knowledge of things taking place at local farms, development sites or industrial units etc that might be relevant I am sure we would like to hear.”

A council spokesman said: “The Council’s Environmental Enforcement Team have received a small number of complaints about this over the last couple of weeks. They have ranged from a ‘sewage’ smell, through ‘petrol-like’ and ‘sulphurous’, to ‘burning rubber’.

“Members of the team have been out trying to identify the odour and track down its source, without success so far.

“Visits have been made to a fuel depot, and a private sewage installation, and these have been excluded from the investigation.

“Any members of the public with information on the source of the odour should call the Environmental Enforcement Team via the Council’s contact centre on 01793 445500 or the Environment Agency.”