Smell campaigners prepare for court

Part of the �55m expansion works at Fleetwood wastewater treatment works, back in 2010.
Part of the �55m expansion works at Fleetwood wastewater treatment works, back in 2010.

FLEETWOOD residents who say their lives have been ruined by the stench of sewage are set for a legal bid for compensation next year.

More than 80 families have already come forward to claim they have not been able to enjoy life in their homes and gardens because of the smell emanating from United Utilities’ sewage plant on Jameson Road, Fleetwood.

And the legal firm representing the residents say there may be even more people who could have similar claims but are not aware of the ongoing court proceedings.

The environmental team at solicitors Hugh James, based in South Wales, are holding two open day events in Fleetwood next month so other potential victims can find out more.

The aim of the events is to establish exactly how many claimants there are in Fleetwood. Gwen Evans, a partner at Hugh James, said court proceeding had started on November 1, and a group litigation order had been made at the high court in Liverpool, requiring all potential claims to be registered by January 9 next year. Once the number of claimants has been confirmed, it is expected a court date will be set for further proceedings.

Ms Evans said: “The first court proceedings have officially begun in respect of the group of residents we are representing.

“We are co-ordinating the claims for a group litigation, and at this stage we need to know how many people have been affected. There could be residents whose gardens are in the path of the odour, but if they don’t put a claim forward by January 9 it will be too late.”

Wendy Wood of Greenfield Road, Fleetwood, said: “At its worst the smell was horrendous. Sometimes it kept me awake at night and made me feel sick. It hasn’t been as bad for the last 12 months but I can still smell it sometimes. The court case is good news. I shall go along to the open day to find out more.”

In 2007, a £40,000 odour investigation by “smells experts” Entec UK in 2007, commissioned by Wyre Council, confirmed that the odour in Fleetwood came from the treatment works. However, United Utilities (UU) has pointed out that a massive £50m plus investment at the Jameson Road site has drastically improved matters.

The open days are at the North Euston Hotel at 2-8pm on Tuesday December 4, and at 9.30am to 2pm on Wednesday December 5. UU did not wish to comment on the latest developments.