Waste depot centre kicking up a stink with Dunmow residents

DUNMOW residents are pleading for the closure of a council waste vehicle depot on New Street due to the health risks it poses.

Doug Baker, who lives in New Street, has led the calls for Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to relocate the site immediately.

In a letter to UDC chief executive John Micthell, Mr Baker states: “Despite repeated complaints to those responsible, rubbish trucks continue to spill foul smelling fluid into the street as they leave this depot.

“Complaints regarding excessive noise from trucks leaving the depot early in the morning have been treated in a similar fashion.”

New Street gives access to a nursery school, John Tasker Surgery, the United Reformed Church, a community hall and the Old Manse Children’s Home. Mr Baker says all those who use these facilities and the residents who live in New Street are at risk.

Accompanying his letter, which he has also sent to the Environment Agency, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and Sir Alan Haselhurst, Mr Baker has got the signatures of 17 of his neighbours who vehemently agree.

In his letter, Mr Baker also outlines the major issues:

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• Waste vehicles have insufficient room to pass cars without mounting the pavement and putting pedestrians and parked cars at risk of injury of damage.

• Waste vehicles occupy the entire road toward the bottom of New Street preventing pedestrians from passing one another on the narrow pavement.

• The street is sufficiently narrow that the wing mirrors of rubbish trucks frequently pass at head height over the pavement putting pedestrians at serious risk of injury.

• Pedestrians, and in particular small children, are engulfed by exhaust fumes from the close proximity of passing vehicles.

• Many residents are retired or elderly people who are woken every morning at 7am by rubbish trucks passing within inches of their homes as they leave the depot.

• The smell emanating from the trucks, their depot and their deposits on the road are foul, nauseous and a possible health risk.

The Dunmow depot has been at its current location since UDC inherited it from the old Dunmow Rural Council when the district council was created in 1974.

In response to Mr Baker’s letter, a UDC spokesman told the Broadcast: “There would clearly be benefits to residents from relocating the depot and workshop and the council is exploring the potential. It is however a complex project and part of a fundamental review of the delivery of the waste and recycling service.

“In the meantime, the council will continue to mitigate the risks. The tight turn and narrowness of the road and access inevitably limit vehicle speeds, but drivers have been instructed to drive with caution. Pedestrians and residents are not at significant risk from emissions because of the low number of vehicles and the short duration of emissions.”

The spokeman explained that an air quality survey had been carried out and no problems were detected and if vehicles continue to spill waste, the Environment Agency will investigate.