'Human poo pong' from fields grips Tring residents

Manure Animal manure has been spread on fields for centuries, but human waste is also used

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An "overpowering" smell drifting from fields around a town in Hertfordshire could be human waste, angry residents have claimed.

People in Tring say they feel trapped in their homes by the stench, which they believe is coming from sewage sludge being used as a fertiliser.

Sharon Maxfield, of Icknield Green, said the intense pong almost made her "eyes bleed".

Dacorum Borough Council said it was investigating the issue.

Ms Maxfield said the smell started in April when tractors began dumping waste in fields surrounding her house. She said it had become worse during the hot weather.

'Breathing human poo'

"I can't have my back door open. The smell is so intense it almost makes my eyes bleed," she told the BBC.

"It gets me in the back of the throat, I've got a headache since last week.

"You don't want to eat anything, you're breathing in human poo particles basically.

"It's not nice for the children - they can't go out in the garden. We've bought a hot tub and now we can't use it."

Other residents told BBC Three Counties Radio that they had not been able to put their washing out and described the smell as "sickly, sweet and overpowering".

The BBC has been unable to obtain a comment from the farmer who owns the fields.

A Dacorum Borough Council spokeswoman said it was investigating the smell with Thames Water to determine whether sewage sludge is being spread.

"At the moment, investigations have not shown that any offences have been committed but we will continue to look into it," she added.

Will Dickinson, from the National Farmers Union (NFU), said human waste was regularly spread on fields for soil nutrition, but there are guidelines that water companies have to adhere to for it to be made as odourless as possible.

He said there were also limits on how much waste can be used by farmers and a ban on using it on crops directly consumed by people, such as vegetables.

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