Banham Poultry fined £300,000 for 'rotting bodies' smell which came from chicken abattoir

The Banham Poultry site in Attleborough. Credit: PA

A poultry company has been fined £300,000 after neighbours complained about the smell of “rotting bodies and flesh” coming from an abattoir.

People living near Banham Poultry in Attleborough in Norfolk reported the smell to the Environment Agency nearly 350 times between 2019 and 2021.

Some said the smell was like "rotting bodies and flesh", while one person was physically sick.

The stench came from decaying chickens, with the smell escaping through damaged and open doors.

Meanwhile, stale blood accumulated on the abattoir floor due to blocked drains.

Some of the drains at the Attleborough site were blocked. Credit: Environment Agency

Banham Poultry, which is now under new management, was sanctioned for "failing to stop odour pollution".

At a hearing at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on 15 September, District Judge Andrew King said the smell had a "significant effect on quality of life" in the town.

The court heard that people could not enjoy their gardens, and nauseating smells entering their homes were difficult to remove.

The Environment Agency said that it had previously warned the company to act after nine people complained about smells coming from the slaughterhouse in 2019, but the situation only got worse.

Many parts of the site had fallen into disrepair. Credit: Environment Agency.

The agency then launched an investigation and discovered carcasses stored outside in the summer of 2020, while staff were also found to lack the "relevant training in environmental issues" to deal with the problems.

"People living and working nearby were badly affected over a long period of time," said Sophie Cousins, who led the investigation into the abattoir for the agency.

“The Environment Agency decided on prosecution after Banham missed many chances to comply with the law. We gave them time and assistance to put matters right, but the problems just mounted up.”

In response to the fine, the company, who were also ordered to pay £67,621 in costs and a victim surcharge, said: "Banham Poultry notes the regrettable historic environmental breaches under the previous owner in relation to odour originating from its site in Attleborough."

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