I STRONGLY sympathise with several readers who have complained about the foul smell caused by the recycling plant on the A14 between Brampton Hut and Ellington village.

I STRONGLY sympathise with several readers who have complained about the foul smell caused by the recycling plant belonging to PurePower Ltd on the A14 between Brampton Hut and Ellington village.

I live within 200 metres of the plant and have to say that the smell is appalling when the wind is in our direction.

Added to that, the fly population in our house and garden has hugely increased in the last three years. On some days the infestation of flies is unbearable and we have to shut off individual rooms of the house, in turn, to fumigate them.

If we want to eat meals in the garden in the summer, this can also become a nightmare, trying to keep the flies off the food.

I have lived in the Brampton area all my life and remember what it was like long before the compost yard was started. It was a beautiful meadow in a rural area with sheep, and the hay was cut once a year. The compost yard has completely changed that.

I come from a longstanding background of agriculture and horticulture and know that the process they use should not smell foul. If they carried out the process properly, it would be a sweet-smelling fermentation. I remember the first couple of years after it started, before the business expanded - it was just that.

The correct process is aerobic fermentation with the type of bacteria produced from respiration with oxygen. This results in a sweet smell. The reason this is not happening is because the compost is not mixed with the air enough and becomes anaerobic. Different bacteria breed in the absence of air, causing a putrid smell.

There are three reasons why this is happening: they do not spend enough time aerating the heaps of compost, the area they operate in for the secondary fermentation stage is too small for the huge volume of compost brought into the yard, and they drive heavy machinery over the heaps, compacting them even further.

The primary fermentation is an expense in machinery wear and tear and also fuel. The more they do the more it costs. There is, as with any enterprise, an incentive to keep down the processing costs.

Consequently there is no need for the process to smell foul if the job is done properly.

From another point of view, why is green waste collected, transported and processed? These processes cause unnecessary cost and pollution. Fleets of lorries enter the compost yard every day. This causes unnecessary road use, adding to congestion and burning fuel, adding to pollution. On top of that we all pay for this through our Council Tax.

All gardeners are capable of processing their own green waste. It is quite simple for a gardener to dig the waste back into the soil or compost it themselves in a small corner of the garden and then dig it back. This has the added benefit of enriching the soil.

Companies that carry out tree-lopping and other green waste clearance can either shred it on the spot or dig it into the soil as well. This would also save them the huge cost of transport and tipping charges.

MIKE LENTON

Thrapston Road

Brampton