Stop the Stink campaign launched in Tonbridge
By Tonbridge Courier | Friday, September 13, 2013, 08:00
A CAMPAIGN has been launched to "Stop The Stink" in Tonbridge.
PETITION: Tonbridge Action Group (l-r) James Arscott, Jacqueline Arscott, George Niklas, Francis Pearce, David Mercier, and Howard Porter.
The town's Action Group have said they have received an "overwhelming" amount of support from the public after starting a campaign to stop deodorant factory Drytec emitting a sickly sweet smell across the town.
The Morley Road business, which has been in Tonbridge for more than three decades, has faced an increasing amount of complaints over its emissions.
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council's environmental health department is currently in talks with the company to find a solution.
Meanwhile campaigners have started petitioning residents, at the Watergate on Saturday and at Tonbridge Farmers' Market on Sunday, and have already collected 400 signatures.
They want to gain at least 1,500 names to secure a debate at full council.
Howard Porter said: "The amount of public anger over this issue is quite astonishing, but the borough council don't appear to have registered the depth of feeling.
"The damage this persistent stink has done to the reputation of the town and to the morale of local people is immense when, really, all they have asked for is that Drytec acts as a good neighbour and the council discharges its responsibility, as it would do if an individual was causing this level of nuisance."
George Niklas added: "Residents are relieved that at last there is now a positive voice representing the community on this issue, and we are surprised at the amount of people whose lives have been affected.
"All we want is for the smell to stop and be able to enjoy our homes and town free of this nuisance."
Leaflets are being given out urging residents to take action if they are concerned about the persistent odour.
The group has asked to know what chemicals make up the emissions and for the borough council to take "effective action" if Drytec does not cooperate fully.
Tonbridge and Malling borough councillor Owen Baldock said the authority was working to solve the issue but it took time for legal processes to be carried out.
He said: "Drytec making smells, yes it is a nuisance, we're not denying that, but before we can actually call it a statutory nuisance - which is a legal definition - there are all sorts of hoops to get through.
"If we were to go in all guns blazing, we would have a multi-million pound law suit on our hands, and I don't think Tonbridge ratepayers would want that.
"Drytec are still installing filtering devices and there are 24 hour monitoring systems in place. Council officers are in the town every day.
"The council is working very hard, nobody's trying to brush it under the carpet."
Residents have also raised concerns about whether the chemicals in the emissions could affect their health. But Mr Baldock insisted the odours were safe.
He said: "The products are used in ready meals and toothpastes. They're edible materials. Yes, it's a nasty smell, but there are no health implications."
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the petition.