Warminster Town Council is to contact the Environment Agency after residents living near Bore Hill Farm complained about the ‘unpleasant smells’ coming from the Malaby Biogas biodigester plant.

The town council will also pass on its view to Wiltshire Council’s public protection officer following complaints about the smells coming from the food waste being recycled for renewable energy and farm fertilisers.

Malaby Biogas director Thomas Minter, whose business celebrated its 10th anniversary in May, was unavailable for comment.

His company, located just off the Deverill Road near Warminster, processes around 30,000 tonnes of food and organic waste each year, converting it by the process of anaerobic digestion.

He produces more than 7,000 MWh of renewable electricity each year that is fed into the National Grid to supply around 2,500 homes.

In addition to this waste-to-energy conversion process, Malaby Biogas annually produces more than 25,000 tonnes of nutrient-rich organic biofertiliser used by farmers in place of fossil fuel-heavy, mineral-based equivalents.

At a full council meeting on Monday (June 13), concerned local residents reported that the “unpleasant smell” from the AD biodigester was impacting on their lives during the current hot weather.

Residents said they had been promised that a new filter would be installed that would reduce the odour but this had not yet been put in place.

The locals also expressed the view that because complaints about smell had been directed to the operators rather than the Environment Agency, the agency was unaware of the real level of complaints.

Several councillors confirmed their own experience that the smell was unpleasant and could smelt over a long distance, depending on weather conditions. 

Mr Minter told the council that Malaby Biogas plans to install new filtration units to tackle the odour issues but these have not yet arrived.

Earlier this year, Malaby Biogas submitted an application to the Environment Agency to vary the permit on its biodigester – a move that could lead to expansion and increased regulation of the site.

Cllr John Syme said the company’s plan to increase the size, status and production of the existing biodigester and the smells coming from the plant were a matter for the Environment Agency to consider.

The issue also affects homes in Ashley Place, Ludlow Close, Bradley Road, Heathlands, Chestnut Tree Gardens, Frederick Taylor Court, Bell Close and Bradley Close, he said.

The Agency is welcoming comments from residents before deciding whether to vary the permit for the Biogas biodigester.