HEAVY machinery has been brought in at a landfill site in North Swindon at attempts are made to stop a lingering smell which has been plaguing residents.

Hills Waste, which run Chapel Farm near Blunsdon, shut the site down last week after hundreds of complaints were made about the odour.

A drill was brought in to install 14 extra wells of which half have now been built and the company will most likely make a decision on when to open the site at the end of this week.

In the first few months of the year, the Environment Agency received 180 complaints from residents who said the smell varied from sewage to burning rubber.

It has been causing problems for a number of years but has become progressively worse since Christmas.

The smell has been particularly prominent in Priory Vale but has been reported as far away as Highworth. Ward councillors visited the site last year to confirm it as the source and after the Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson contacted EA chiefs the site was closed.

A spokesman for the company said: “Hills Waste Solutions can confirm that the Chapel Farm landfill site remains temporarily closed whilst works to install infrastructure to improve landfill gas management take place.

“More than half of the additional landfill gas extraction wells, as agreed with the Environment Agency, have already been installed and connected to the main gas management system. These have been tested and are working effectively.In addition, temporary clay capping has been placed on identified areas to further reduce gas emissions. The size of the tipping area has been reduced to minimise the potential for fresh waste odours to arise in preparation for when the site reopens.

“It is anticipated that the remaining gas extraction wells will be installed by the end of this week after which Hills will make a decision on when to resume normal operations at the site..”

All of the work has been overseen by the EA, who will remain on site until the problem is sorted.

Neil Martin, of the EA said: “Work has begun on site to drill 14 new gas wells to extract gas from the operational cell and take it to the on-site engines where it is burnt to produce electricity.

“The work is progressing well and will continue this week. The first of these wells is connected up and extracting gas, reducing the emissions from site. We would encourage people who experience odour issues to call our free 24/7 Incident Hotline on 0800 807060.”