UP TO 30 ANGRY RESIDENTS packed out Hedon’s small Town Council chamber for the first of the Yorkshire Water Drop-ins this afternoon.
Yorkshire Water’s Community Engagement Manager, Richard Sears, started off by explaining about the exceptional seasonal circumstances that led to foul odours in the weeks in July; and how Yorkshire Water’s £3.5m investment would significantly reduce odours from the Saltend site.
His introduction was meant to be five minutes, before residents could speak to experts associated with the site, but most people seemed keen for a question and answer session and it was 40 minutes later before the meeting broke up to allow others into the small room.
Lots of residents felt cynical about Yorkshire Water’s claims that the new investment would reduce odours; they had heard all it all before. Many expressed the view that the Treatment Works ought to be closed down.
Dozens of questions were asked: One resident had been complaining for years about ongoing smells and had written her first letter of complaint in 2004. Another resident was undergoing chemotherapy treatment and was convinced that the smells had affected him adversely. Two residents at the back of the hall felt their questions had not being answered and tore the papers up that Yorkshire Water had provided in disgust.
The event provided an opportunity for people to ‘have their say’ and express their discontent and anger – but longer more productive talks are still probably needed before any trust between local residents and Yorkshire Water can be built.