Anger at 'rancid' smell and disruptive noise of Davidstow Creamery

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A couple in Cornwall have hit out at the 'rancid' smell and mechanical noises coming from Davidstow Creamery, which makes cheddar cheese.

Jim and Kasia live in Tremail, a hamlet downhill and often downwind of the creamery, and say it is making their lives a misery.

Jim says: “Sometimes it's reminiscent of dead sheep, sometimes sewage-like or the other one is bad eggs, once you’ve smelt it you know it’s not just manure.”

Saputo Dairy UK, which owns the factory, was fined £1.5million last year for breaching the site's environmental permit.

However, since being fined in June more complaints have been issued to the Environment Agency.

Jim and Kasia told ITV News they are also sometimes kept awake by the noise coming from the site.

Kasia said: “I feel hopeless because you actually know you are in the right, it’s what they are doing is wrong.”

In a statement, the Environment Agency said: "We have received and responded to a number of odour and noise complaints in 2022 and so far in 2023 from Davidstow Creamery waste-water processing facility, operated by Dairy Crest Limited (owned by Saputo Dairy UK).

The creamery employs more than 200 people

“We have recorded multiple permit breaches for a variety of issues during that period including odour, noise, and water quality and agree there have been unacceptable impacts from the site on local people and the environment. 

"We are requiring the operator to take steps to prevent or minimise these impacts now and in future.  

It added: “In 2022, we prosecuted the operator for offending between 2016 and 2020, including for causing odour pollution, and we have ongoing investigations into offending from 2021 and 2022."

The residents of Davidstow have had issues going back seven years. The MP for North Devon Scott Mann says if it was being built now it would not be built in that area.

He said: "It's quite unusual, the building and where it sits in the countryside but it's a big local employer and everyone wants to see the sight brought up to where it needs to get to support local farmers and all the people that are working there."

Phill Potter lives right next door to the creamery’s wastewater facility, he joined Davidstow Parish Council to try to find a solution

Phill Potter who lives near the creamery's waste water facility wants them to "address the issues and put put them right"

He said: “You do almost regret moving here but then if they address the issues and get them right then it’s not a problem.

"You’ve got 200 jobs at the factory, there’s 350 farms I think which they collect milk from, the whole welfare of this area is down to the creamery we just want them to address their issues and put them right."

Saputo Dairy told ITV News West Country: “We have undertaken a substantial programme of capital investment and operational improvements over the last four years at the Davidstow site.

"We are aware of a few neighbours still experiencing issues around odour and noise and further initiatives are underway to address this, which they are aware of.

"The Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed that they have no evidence to suggest that levels of any gas outside the WPF would be directly harmful to human health.

“We work closely with the EA – sharing plans and regularly reporting progress.

"Furthermore, we hold regular three-way meetings with the EA and local residents to update them on progress and discuss any complaints. Davidstow residents are represented by the Parish Council, with whom we have a productive working relationship, and which represents the views of the broader Davidstow community.

“We take our responsibilities as a major employer and neighbour extremely seriously and are doing all we can to maintain a good relationship with the local community.

“Environmental compliance remains a top priority and we remain firmly committed to our environmental agenda and ongoing investment plans.”