Nightingale Hall Farm

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 30th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Hilton Dawson Mr Hilton Dawson Labour, Lancaster and Wyre 11:30 am, 30th January 2003

What action she intends to take in relation to the operations of the animal rendering plant at Nightingale Hall farm, Lancaster.

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The responsibility for regulating air pollution, including odours from animal by-product rendering plants, lies with the local authority, in this case Lancaster City council, subject to appeal to the Secretary of State.

Photo of Mr Hilton Dawson Mr Hilton Dawson Labour, Lancaster and Wyre

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that reply. Is he aware that the revolting stink at the fats and proteins plant at Nightingale Hall farm in Lancaster has blighted the lives of thousands of people in the city for decades? Will he accept my congratulations on being close to achieving the effective regulation, which eluded us in 18 years of Tory Government and the blighted 27 years of my Conservative predecessor? Will he comprehensively resist any weakening of the odour boundary condition that he has suggested that he is minded to impose to protect my constituents, and thus ensure that he enjoys the honour and approbation of the fine, historic city of Lancaster?

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the manner of his further inquiry. Smells from rendering are known to be especially offensive and I appreciate that there has been a long-standing problem in his constituency.

On stringency, my hon. Friend knows that the Government issued revised guidance on air pollution standards for renderers in 2000, which toughened previous standards and specified that plants should operate without offensive smells exceeding the process boundary, except in limited circumstances. A "minded to" decision letter was sent on 17 January about the plant in my hon. Friend's constituency, and comments were requested by 14 February. We will issue the final decision as soon as possible after considering the comments.