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CODE OF PRACTICE TO TACKLE SEWAGE ODOUR PROBLEMS

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The Welsh Assembly Government is to encourage the sewage treatment industry, its regulatory bodies and consumer gro...
The Welsh Assembly Government is to encourage the sewage treatment industry, its regulatory bodies and consumer groups, to co-operate to draw up a code of practice to tackle the issue of odour and other nuisances, environment, planning and countryside minister Carwyn Jones announced today.

This follows the consultation carried out by the Welsh Assembly Government into nuisances caused by sewage treatment works.

Mr Jones said: 'Although the incidents of odour problems are relatively few compared to the number of sewage treatment works in Wales, when problems do occur they can have a significant and prolonged impact on local residents. There was an apparent lack of effective enforcement which had to be addressed as a matter or urgency.

'The outcome of the consultation carried out last year supports the use of the statutory nuisance regime to resolve such problems. Also, a recent high court judgement has clarified that odours from sewage treatment works can be considered as a statutory nuisance which means local authorities have both a duty to investigate such a problem. This means that abatement notices can be used to resolve long-term problems of odour and other nuisances from sewage treatment works.

'The consultation did raise concerns that using the statutory nuisance regime could lead to inconsistencies and increased uncertainty for the sewage treatment industry. That is why the Assembly Government will be encouraging the sewage treatment industry, its regulatory and professional bodies and representative consumer groups to co-operate to produce a code or practice which will provide advice and guidance in support of the successful resolution of odour and other nuisance problems from sewage treatment works.'

Key findings of the consultation in Wales are:

* 85 per cent in favour of additional controls;

* 13 per cent supported the introduction of a code of practice, without legislation;

* 50 per cent supported the statutory nuisance regime of the Environmental Protection Act 1990;

* 13 per cent supported either LAPPC (Local Air Pollution and Prevention Control Regime) or IPPC (Integrated Pollution and Prevention Control regime).

Notes

The three month consultation exercise: Proposals for the Statutory Control of Odour & Other Nuisance from Sewage Treatment Works was launched 21 2003 and 13 June2003. A copy can be found here.

2: The consultation document identified four possible options:

i. The introduction of a voluntary code of practice for odour control for the sewage industry, with no changes to legislation. This would provide guidance for all stakeholders in agreeing a resolution to an odour problem.

ii. Extend the Statutory Nuisance regime within the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) 1990 to include odour and other nuisances from sewage treatment works. This would enable local authorities to serve abatement notices to require companies to control odour.

iii. Utilise the Local Air Pollution Prevention and Controls (LAPPC); this would require each sewage works to obtain a permit containing conditions based on the use of Best Available Techniques (BAT). BAT are designed to minimise air emissions, including odour. Local authorities would be responsible for issuing and monitoring permits, with reference to statutory guidance published by the government.

iv. Extend the Integrated Pollution Prevention Control (IPPC) regime; permits would contain conditions about odour control if odours were considered to be significant. Non-compliance with those conditions would lead to enforcement action and could lead to prosecution.

The Welsh Assembly Government sought views on these and also for any other cost-effective measures that individuals or organisations might suggest.

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