THE Environment Agency has been asked to clear up the mystery of the 'Rodbourne pong'.

Swindon Borough Council called in the government body to help find the source of a stench which has plagued people living just north of the railway line for years.

Ward councillors from Rodbourne Cheney and Mannington and Western have been asking the council to get involved.

Luke Parsons of Bruce Street said it "smells like someone has mixed cheese and vomit together and set it on fire".

Labour group leader Jim Grant, who represents Rodbourne Cheney, welcome the news.

He said: “On behalf of the residents I am pleased that the council has changed its mind and is now liaising directly with the Environment Agency on this matter.

Senior officers were receptive to the argument that residents have suffered enough and that the Environement Agency was the body with powers to investigate and take sanctions against whichever company is responsible for the emissions causing the smell.

Cabinet member for highways, maintenance and waste services Maureen Penny said: “This situation has been going on for far too long and we are working with councillor Grant and his fellow ward councillors to try to get to the bottom of where this foul smell is coming from.

“As has been previously reported, there are a few possible sources and we are now liaising with the Environment Agency to try to establish the cause.

"In the meantime, if local residents do notice the smell they can contact the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”

A number of businesses have been linked to the stench, including Thames Water, Crapper and Sons, and Public Power Solutions, the borough council’s waste management company which operates from the Waterside Park depot next to the waste recycling centre in Chemey Manor Industrial Estate.

Coun Grant added: “My understanding is that the Environment Agency have already ruled out Crappers as a possible source of the smell and are focusing their investigations on sites closer to Rodbourne Cheney.

"I am now hopeful that, after all the years, residents’ concerns have been listened to and a solution to the problem is finally in sight.”

People living in Rodbourne say the smell has been worse this year, possibly because of lockdown, with more people at home for longer periods in the day and therefore noticing it more.

Mannington and Western councillor Jim Robbins – the chairman of the scrutiny committee – has asked for a report on the smell to be brought to the next meeting on December 7.

He said the report should not just be about the smell, but also about air quality in general. Coun Robbins said it should have a focus on the council’s air quality management area plan in Kingshill, where pollution is worst in the borough.