Residents complain to minister over smell

Chemical leak at factory premises in Shires Road,Brackley.'110603M-C242
Chemical leak at factory premises in Shires Road,Brackley.'110603M-C242

RESIDENTS on the front line of Brackley’s odour problem are seeking a change in the law so they can open their windows comfortably in the summer.

Over the last few weeks residents of the Roman Estate have missed out on the best of the fine weather as a chemical odour from the nearby industrial estate forced them inside.

On Friday, June 3 fire crews wore chemical protection suits to inspect a site on the Buckingham Road Industrial Estate and evacuated local businesses after reports of a chemical leak.

Workers at the neighbouring engineering firm EMR called 999 after suffering headaches and sore eyes caused by fumes which they associated with the chemical smells next door.

As reported in the Advertiser the week before the emergency service were called, the site contained around 140 tonnes of chemical waste including sulphuric acid, chromic acid, alkaline wash water, commercial detergents and white spirit.

In September 2010 the Environment Agency told the site operator Cypress Ltd to clear the site. Cypress subsequently went in to administration and the site was abandoned.

Last week the residents’ group sent an official complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman asking why the site was left unregulated leaving the public at risk of harm.

They also want the EA and the local authority to have greater policing and enforcement powers on all sites where chemical are stored, processed and distributed. The residents are calling for disciplinary action against those who allowed the situation where a serious chemical hazard was left to be discovered by an inquisitive member of the public.

Roman Estate resident Mike Langlois said: “We don’t want a repetition of this in Brackley and we don’t want it to be allowed in any other part of the country.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said an email from Cypress in January said most of the waste had been removed and the remaining seven lorry loads would be moved that month. It was not until May 25 that the EA became aware that Cypress had been placed in administration.