Dung fire on St Albans College’s farm blows acrid smoke onto properties

PUBLISHED: 17:03 05 May 2016

Fire at Oaklands College's farm in Colney Heath Lane, St Albans

Fire at Oaklands College's farm in Colney Heath Lane, St Albans

Photo supplied

Pungent pongs from a smouldering stack of straw and manure forced residents to keep their windows firmly shut over the bank holiday weekend.

Fire at Oaklands College's farm in Colney Heath Lane, St AlbansFire at Oaklands College's farm in Colney Heath Lane, St Albans

Oaklands College in St Albans has apologised after offensive odours wafted from the institution’s 
farm, Home Farm Estate off Colney Heath Lane, after the pile of 
manure and straw caught fire last Friday (29).

An unimpressed David Kilpatrick, who lives nearby, said: “We renamed it ‘Smokelands College’. The whole house smelled of acrid smoke. The farm shouldn’t be used to store manure and straw because of the risk of arson and its proximity to Nicholas Breakspear School.

“The fire was very close to the boundary fence with the school so they were badly affected, as well as many residents in Boissy Close and Colney Heath Lane.

“There is a public footpath that runs directly beside the dung heap.”

David described the smoke that swept across the area over the long weekend as being “so bad that it was like a thick fog. We had to keep our windows closed.”

District councillor for Colney Heath, Chris Brazier, said he had been contacted by annoyed residents, adding, “they rang me about the smell and the smoke – it is a concern.

“Why didn’t Oaklands do something about it?”

A spokeswoman for the college said firefighters extinguished the fire on Friday and “also went back to check on it over the weekend, and were satisfied that there was no risk of the fire spreading as it was on concrete.

“The manure was there because we spread it over the land to help us grow wheat, corn and barley.

“Obviously we’re very sorry that the fire caused inconvenience to the residents in regards to the smoke and smell but we’re glad the fire service were quick to respond in putting out the fire and making sure it was safe.”

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