SCORES of people in Westbury have been unable to sleep at night with their windows open because of the “horrid” flies and smells coming from the town’s Northacre Resource Recovery Centre.

The centre is owned by Swindon-based Hills Group processes more than 60,000 tonnes of Wiltshire’s waste using mechanical and biological and treatment methods.

It is next to the site on the Northacre Industrial site where Northacre Renewable Energy Ltd wants to locate a £200 million energy from waste incinerator.

But residents will have to endure three more weeks of the 'Westbury pong' while they wait until the end of August for work to finish replacing bio-filter systems that may help reduce the strong odours.

The town’s mayor, Cllr Sheila Kimmins, said: “The smell has been absolutely appalling for people who are living there, especially those in Storridge Road.

“They cannot sleep at night-time with their windows open and there are people with young children who cannot enjoy their gardens.

“The flies at the beginning of the summer were horrid. It’s like leaving your dustbin for two weeks and it’s 24/7. It’s no fun.”

Cllr Janet Parker, who lives in Storridge Road just 250 metres away from the centre, said: "It's just disgusting. We have to put up with it every year but this year it has been horrendous.

"You cannot leave your windows open and during the heatwave I and all my neighbours have been suffering.

"It's worse at night when Hills are doing their maintenance. If you step outside, you have to put your hand over your mouth and nose, otherwise it makes you feel sick."

Cllr Parker, 51, says she and her neighbours can't leave their doors and windows open because of the smell and flies coming in.

Residents have complained to Hills Group, Wiltshire Council and the Environment Agency about the overpowering odours but South West Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison has expressed his dismay at Hills Group’s response.

A letter from Mike Hill, the company’s chief executive, says the replacement of odour filters takes 12 weeks to complete. The company is expecting work to finish just before the August bank holiday weekend.

The MP said: “The smell is truly horrible - my constituents have had to put up with it for weeks with more to come in the very height of summer.

“If Hills can’t manage a simple thing like odour from its existing operation, why on earth would anyone think it can manage emissions from the old-style incinerator it plans to foist on Westbury?”

In his letter, Mr Hill says his firm is fixing the odour problem ‘during normal daytime working hours Monday to Friday.’

The MP said: “Hills’ lack of urgency is astounding. I bet the company’s top brass would make sure whoever contracted to do the filter change at the premises worked round-the-clock if they lived next door.”

Hills Group said: “The work on replacing the bio-filter is part of a planned maintenance programme that is required every 3-4 years of the plant’s operation and was last undertaken in 2017.

“Hills Waste Solutions has been working with the Environment Agency on the replacement programme and has kept the EA informed of its progress.

"The bio-filter replacement is not a simple task and the works are on schedule to be completed as planned.”