Derby fly infestation prompts row over blame

Flies Image copyright Jill Knight
Image caption Residents said they are having difficulty cooking food and washing themselves

A plague of flies infesting people's homes due to issues at a waste treatment facility has prompted a row over who is responsible.

Residents in the Slack Lane area of Derby said they cannot cook or clean at home due to the swarms, which they say have persisted for months.

The Environment Agency has ordered Shows Waste Management to get the problem under control.

But councillors said the action was a case of "too little, too late".

The crisis has sparked a row between several waste management companies.

Image caption Some locals have reported seeing up to "200 to 300" flies in a single room

Swarms in the skies: When pests descend

Shows Waste Management joint-owner, Wayne Turton, claimed that they have been left in this situation by another firm - who were unavailable for comment when contacted by the BBC.

Mr Turton told BBC Radio Derby he felt sorry for the affected residents and added they are doing the best they can to fix the issue.

He said the area had been covered with insecticide and the company was working with the Environment Agency to clear the waste.

Image caption The problem has sparked a row between a number of waste management companies

Melissa Marriott, who lives nearby, said she is unable to use fly spray as it would harm the respiratory systems of parrots she keeps.

She has had to resort to using an electric fly killer, which "gets 50 flies a day".

"We started getting the odd few in February but over the last few weeks, it's got out of control," she said.

"They're constantly all over your worktop surfaces. You try to eat something and they land on your food - I can't even go and have a bath without getting them in my bath water."

Image caption Some shops in parts of Derby have now run out of fly spray and fly strips

Derby city councillor Paul Pegg said the council has been working to try to solve the problem since February.

About 3,000 households and businesses are in the affected areas.

"It's gradually got worse and worse," Mr Pegg said.

"It's too little, too late. This has been going on for months. We've got shops that have had to close, factories have had to shut their canteens.

"The Environment Agency are as much to blame because they have not pushed to get the site cleared as quickly as they should have done."

Image caption One resident said the situation has left elderly neighbours "in tears"
Image caption The presence of flies was first noticed in February

Businesses on the nearby Kingsway Retail Park, including Subway, Greggs, Sainsbury's and Hobbycraft, were forced to close on Sunday due to the sheer volume of insects buzzing around.

Supermarkets and convenience stores in some parts of the city have now run out of fly spray and fly strips.

Image caption The operators of the waste facility have been told no further waste will be allowed on the site

The Environment Agency explained Shows Waste Management was given an enforcement notice on 11 March to move the waste.

A suspension notice, issued due to the lack of compliance with the previous notice, means no more waste can be brought onto the site.

A spokeswoman said the waste was being treated with insecticides daily, but was unable to say how long it would take to remove the waste and deal with the infestations.

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