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Village where residents lock out the smell.

Byline: aamir mohammed Reporteraamir.mohammed@walesonline.co.uk

RESIDENTS of a village blighted by a foul smell say they have spent the summer with all their windows shut in an attempt to avoid the stench.

People in Gelligaer, Caerphilly, have for years bemoaned the smell from a nearby farm site, as well as dust from an associated quarry and recycling plant which they claim is coating roads, homes and windows.

Walk around the village and you can see that most people have their windows shut - even on a warm August day when we visit. It meant that lockdown was tough for those with families - particularly during the hotter spells.

Pensioner Jack Davies, 76, served in the Army for 12 years. He was born and bred in Gelligaer and suffers from bronchitis and asthma - but says he isn't able to open the windows.

"You can't open the windows due to the smell and dust, which badly affects my chest," he said. "When it's hot weather you can't breathe - it's totally disgusting. Have a look at the state of the windows - they're just always black.

"Lockdown was tough - it was like a Turkish bath. I had to rely on other people and I've only got a small flat. I wouldn't want anybody to live like this.

"I've served across the world and, trust me, nothing smells as bad as this."

He added: "After a bit you get used to it

Reporter aamir.mohammed@walesonline.co.uk but if I go out and come back and I leave a window open or something it's like walking into a pigsty."

The smells and dust are coming from a nearby farm and quarry. The owners, Bryn Group, say they are listening to residents' concerns and taking action. They also say they have invested in technology to limit the odour coming from the farm.

Mr Davies said his children are always telling him to move house when they come to visit.

"I tell my kids that after a bit you get used to it but they still say to move. I'd never move - I'm born and bred here and I intend to stay here," he said.

"I'm tough so it hasn't affected my mental health, but I know there are families in the area who are really struggling. This has been going on far too long."

One family told us they would have moved out the area if they could afford to.

Mum-of-two Hannah Morris, 35, said: "Lockdown was really tough as I've got two young girls and they couldn't go outside. The kids were just constantly stuck inside and it isn't fair because even when restrictions eased they couldn't play outside. "No-one should have to live like this and for anyone that thinks it's OK I'd love to see them live like this.

"I want people to know how hard it is to live where you can't even wash your clothes properly because they get smelly when you hang them up outside."

Alun Price, co-owner and director of Price & Co Farming and the Bryn Group, said: "We appreciate that some of our neighbours do not like the smells associated with living in a farming area and next to an established dairy farm. We have invested in technology and processes to minimise the odours that arise from our operations, but there are certain distinct smells associated with the countryside and livestock that cannot be removed.

"The Price family has farmed at Gelliargwellt Uchaf for more than a century where we manage some 865 acres of land, our milking herd of 700 award-winning Holstein Friesian cows, and also our diversified recycling and aggregates business, Bryn Group.

"As you would imagine, cows eat a lot of silage and produce a lot of waste, which we manage on site in a number of different ways and in line with strict environmental legislation. That is the smell that neighbours have described and about which a vocal few have repeatedly complained."

He added: "We will continue to work closely with community representatives, Caerphilly council, and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to further manage odours where possible. Our current focus is to alter the way we manage rainwater and slurry, to which end we have recently secured planning consent to cover the yards between our farm buildings and for a dedicated rainwater storage lagoon. That will make the processing of slurry more efficient and timely."

A spokesman for Caerphilly council added: "We are aware of ongoing concerns from local residents about odours resulting from activity at the site.

"However, there has not been a significant escalation in complaints over recent months. Caerphilly council and NRW continue to closely monitor the situation and we are liaising with the community and the business owner to ensure compliance."

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Jack Davies, 76, said that he had to keep his windows closed, even on hot days, due to the smell outside
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Author:aamir mohammed Reporteraamir.mohammed@walesonline.co.uk
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 1, 2020
Words:815
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