Clean up operation starts on golf course after Environment Agency investigates sewage smell complaints

Two companies have been ordered to clean up a golf course after residents complained materials brought in during landscape works smelled of sewage.

A clean-up operation started at Stafford Castle Golf Club, in a residential area three miles from Stafford town centre, on Monday, with one of the firms, 4 Recycling Group, agreeing to move 70 per cent of sewage sludge from the site to farmland nearby and removing the remainder completely. The work is expected to take three weeks to complete.

The company had appealed against an enforcement notice issued by the Environment Agency but agreed this month to undertake the work. Earlier this year contractors stopped spreading the sewage and covered it up, improving life for nearby residents.

The problems came after the Environment Agency issued a permit to Luddington Golf in early 2012, which allows inert wastes to be deposited to build mounds at Stafford Castle golf course, which lies around three miles from Stafford town centre.

It issued another to 4 Recycling Group in June 2013 which allows sludges or ‘sewage cake’ from the treatment of urban waste water to be spread as a soil conditioner to fertilise soils.

But the agency received several complaints from residents about odour on the site, especially in July this year, gaining the attention of Stafford MP, Jeremy Lefroy and local councillors.

An Environment Agency statement said that "some of the waste Luddington Golf has brought onto the site is not believed to be acceptable under its permit and also 4 Recycling has not been managing its activities satisfactorily".

It served enforcement notices to both Luddington Golf and 4 Recycling. Both companies appealed and The Planning Inspectorate upheld the EA’s decision regarding Luddington Golf in October after an inquiry. The appeal against 4 Recycling’s notice has yet to be held.

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