'Sickly' Tonbridge stink fails to keep the locals sweet

The Drytec factory in Tonbridge
Image caption Drytec insists emissions from its factory pose no risk

People living in Tonbridge say they are being made prisoners in their own home by a sickly, sweet smell from a local deodorant factory.

More than 700 residents have signed a petition calling on Tonbridge and Malling Council to take action, arguing that it could pose a threat to health.

But the council says experts have assured it there is no health concern.

And the firm, which makes flavours for foods and fragrances for deodorants, insists its products are harmless.

One of the campaigners behind the petition, George Niklas, said: "The effects are so much that we want to close our doors, our windows, not be outside, just be inside all the time."

'Not nasty'

Residents say the pong is particularly pungent on warm days and can be overbearing - "as though a sweet factory has exploded".

Owen Baldock, an environmental health cabinet member on the borough council, said the council had investigated and been assured by the Health Protection Agency that there was "absolutely no concern".

"It's an irritation," he said. "It's not nice, it's not nasty."

Drytec said in a statement: "We have worked consistently with the local authorities to ensure we minimise our environmental impact.

"We have made major investment in odour abatement, updated our operating procedures and carried out modelling and analysis, using specialist companies to confirm the measures we have taken have been effective."

It added: "All these products [that it manufactures] are used in everyday life and pose no risk to health or to the environment."

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