AB Produce near Measham risks losing licence over 'urine' smell

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Image caption Villagers have complained about the smell from the plant for years

A vegetable processing plant, which produces a smell "like urine", could lose its licence if it does not go away, the Environment Agency has said.

AB Produce in Leicestershire is co-directed by MP Andrew Bridgen and his brother Paul.

Work to clear two "lagoons" of putrid vegetable matter is a "small step" towards finally eradicating the smell, the firm said.

The local council said the odour could increase over the next eight weeks.

'Not acceptable'

Villagers in nearby Measham have complained about the smell for years.

One said: "It just smells like urine all the time - first thing in the morning until last thing at night."

David Hudson, from the Environment Agency, warned the site could lose its licence "if we can't get a solution".

"Clearly what's happening at the moment isn't acceptable - there's a lot of people who have complained," he said.

Paul Bridgen said he is bidding for planning permission to install an anaerobic digester, which he hopes will get rid of the smell for good.

"I am absolutely convinced that it is the right solution - and it will produce energy for the factory," he said.

MP Andrew Bridgen said in April the company was investing £2.2m in equipment to treat the water so it does not smell.

But the lagoons, which are used to store waste water from the vegetable preparation process, need to be drained first - a process that will take eight weeks and could increase the odour, North West Leicestershire District Council said.

It has advised residents they can continue to make complaints, which it will log.

MP's family firm

  • Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen, receives a payment of £7,773 every month from AB Produce PLC, for 12 hours of work, according to the House of Commons Register of Members' Financial Interests
  • He is a director and non-executive chairman of the public limited company
  • He states: "I attend board meetings once a month and communicate with the managing director weekly."

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