Calne pensioner keen to identify gas leaks

This Is Wiltshire: Pensioner Margaret Mitchell has written letters of complaint to local authorities after waking to find her house filled with a strong smelling gas Pensioner Margaret Mitchell has written letters of complaint to local authorities after waking to find her house filled with a strong smelling gas

Pensioner Margaret Mitchell has written letters of complaint to local authorities after waking to find her house filled with a strong smelling gas.

Mrs Mitchell, of Brook Way, Calne, detected the gas in her home on March 1, at 7.30am, and also in the mornings and evenings between March 2 and March 5.

The 74-year-old, who lives near the Viridor landfill site, in Sandpit Road, was so cross about the smell she wrote to Wiltshire Council and Calne Town Council.

Her neighbour, who is asthmatic, also noticed gas and rang the gas company to complain, after finding it difficult to breathe.

Mrs Mitchell said: “On March 1, my German shepherd woke me at 7.30am. My bedroom was redolent with the smell of gas.

“On opening the door to the rest of the house, the smell was so bad that it caught the back of my throat and sent me into a coughing fit.

“The gas board arrived to check matters in the Brook Way area. They received more than 20 complaints and had been called to The Pippin area of Calne and Sainsbury’s.

“It does beg the question, should permission have been granted for so many residential properties to be built within such close proximity to a large-scale landfill site?”

Mrs Mitchell’s complaints are being investigated by the Environment Agency, which has spoken to Viridor.

Mike Dunning, of the agency, said the smell could have been a trace gas, which has a distinctive scent and to which the human nose is very sensitive.

He said: “We have had a few more complaints about odours recently, but not a huge number.

“We have spoken to the site operators and we have monitoring equipment which shows there has been no build-up in levels of gas above what it should be.”

On landfill gas seeping into homes, a Viridor spokesman said: “We can assure you this is not possible, given the control measures in place and local geology.

“A localised issue with a small section of the gas field at the site was identified and repaired on March 5.

“Additional odour reports have been received later in the month. We have not been able to attribute these to our landfill activities.”

To report gas leaks to the Environment Agency, call 0800 807060.

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