Calls for compensation to residents after putrid waste spilt into Colney Heath

The Agrivert recycling plant in Colney Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO

The Agrivert recycling plant in Colney Heath. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Villagers are calling for compensation after foul waste was spilt over the roads and footpaths of Colney Heath.

High Street, Colney Heath

High Street, Colney Heath - Credit: Archant

Last week a large lorry carrying pet food byproduct was on its way to the Agrivert’s North London AD Facility when it got lost on Coursers Road and drove into Colney Heath.

Trying to turn-around, the vehicle slopped a load of putrid waste into the street, where it was spread to the A414 and High Street.

Colney Heath Parish Council received more than 100 messages about a rotting smell and waste product flowing around the village.

Residents were forced to drive through the muck, inadvertently covering their cars, and numerous organisations were involved in the clean up, including the Environment Agency, Herts county council, and Thames Water.

Although there was no health risk, district councillor Chris Brazier has called for Agrivert to reimburse any cleaning or repair costs incurred because of the incident.

He said: “We are talking that in the 30C heat, no-one can open their windows and the smell was sickening - people were gagging or being sick.

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“It went into the grass, it split down the road, it split outside the shop so no-one was going in there, it got all over people’s cars.”

The truck was driven by an employee of waste haulage company CP Allen and Son.

Cllr Brazier said: “I am trying to get compensation but it will be difficult because Agrivert are denying responsibilty. I am saying they are partly responsible.

“When they were given planning permission for the site I said it was very important that lorries do not come near the residential

properties or shops.

“Agrivert have to take responsibility - it’s their digester, they are operating it and it’s happening on their watch. I understand Agrivert isn’t a bottomless pit but I would like to see a gesture of goodwill.”

Commercial director of Agrivert, Harry Waters, said: “The haulage carrier was not Agrivert’s responsibility.

“However, we of course have a responsibility by association and we have been onto the haulage and we have sought their assurance that they will compensate people for damage and indeed, they are organising to put a mobile deep clean station in Colney Heath, as I understand it.”

A spokesperson from CP Allen and Son said: “Our position is that it is with great regret this incident has happened, as a small family run company we have never been involved in an incident like this before and have taken steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

He said they dealt with the incident by communicating with St Albans district council, Agrivert, and commercial waste company Veolia.

CP Allen and Son has also commissioned a deep clean of affected vehicles.

He added: “The weather being particularly hot and dry has certainly exasperated the situation, however the forecast for the next few days for cooler and wet conditions is the best thing to dissipate the last of the residual odour.

“I would like to offer my sincere apologies to all residents for the inconvenience this has caused.”