Search

British Sugar brings in odour consultant to investigate the mystery of the Norfolk smell

PUBLISHED: 17:43 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 08:17 04 July 2017

Elizabeth Truss MP touring the Cornerways Nursery with British Sugar Managing Director Paul Kenward, Downham Market and Stoke Ferry councillor. Picture: Fiona Walker

Elizabeth Truss MP touring the Cornerways Nursery with British Sugar Managing Director Paul Kenward, Downham Market and Stoke Ferry councillor. Picture: Fiona Walker

Archant

British Sugar has hired an odour consultant to support their investigation into the strange smell that has puzzled large parts of Norfolk.

The announcement was made by South West Norfolk MP, Elizabeth Truss, after she met with the managing director of British Sugar to discuss whether the company’s new operation at Cornerways Nursery, near Wissington, could be the source of the smell.

Ms Truss said: “The recent harvest of the specialist crop was the first one to come from Cornerways Nursery, near Wissington and with the process generally taking about four to five weeks, there is the potential for strong smells to linger for quite a few days.

“British Sugar have assured me that they do not want to create any problems for local residents and I certainly want to see any changes, where needed, implemented as quickly as possible.

“An environmental specialist and odour consultant have been engaged to investigate the issues raised and if necessary, investment will be made in appropriate odour control equipment. I think everyone recognises the importance of the work done at the factory but it should not adversely impact on the surrounding towns and villages, subsequently I have asked British Sugar to keep me updated on developments.”

People from across the region have been noticing the smell and while descriptions have varied, the majority describe it as being similar to the smell of cannabis.

British Sugar moved away from the production of tomatoes to producing plants for the pharmaceutical sector at the end of 2016 and greenhouses at Wissington now grow a plant that is a member of the cannabis family, used for an epilepsy treatment called Epidiolex.

The harvesting of the first crop took place in June, the same month that people began to pick up on the smell.

However, it is difficult to conclude that there is a single source for the smell. Recent weather reports show that there has been very little wind in the county and despite people reporting it as far as Norwich, there has not been a strong westerly wind to carry it.

Similarly, there have been other reports of the smell having drifted east of Wissington in places such as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The other theories

A large number of theories on what could be the source have emerged, here are a few possibilities.

Mike Scott, a farmer from Wisbeach, said: “The smell is a particular chemical farmers are using to control the recent increase in aphid numbers, the hot spell caused an explosion of aphid and other pests that cause damage to crops, the scent is harmless but does hang around a bit in certain weather conditions.”

While David Burton, from Whissonsett, said: “We’re subjected to smells throughout the summer from a local herb processing plant, especially when processing the herb coriander which was processed last week. The smell can be so bad all windows and doors have to be closed. It would almost certainly carry across county by prevailing winds.”

It has also been suggested that the smell is related to the police disposing of illegal cannabis crops but Norfolk Constabulary confirmed that incinerations are not done in the county.

More: Mystery of Norfolk smell deepens as British Sugar investigates

Other news

12 minutes ago

Former Norwich City footballer Iwan Roberts scored a hit with Sheringham shoppers when he turned out to open a new Specsavers store in the town centre.

46 minutes ago

A senior whistleblower within the region’s ambulance trust has claimed up to 80 people could have died or come to harm because of delays over the Christmas and New Year period.

The Dereham Road at Yaxham is currently closed due to a man being trapped in his overturned car.

11:37

Controversial cuts to bus subsidies and gritting in Norfolk are on the brink of being abandoned - with money from a council tax increase saving the services.

Most Read

Yesterday, 16:46

Thousands of homes are still without power across Norfolk and Suffolk after strong winds caused widespread damage across the region.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:45

A Gothic horror film that brought star Vincent Price and director Roger Corman to Norfolk is to return to Norwich for a screening by Hallowed Histories.

Read more
Wales
Wed, 18:00

Researchers at a marine science institute believe they have found “strong evidence” that incidents of sickness and death in dogs after eating fish on the north Norfolk coastline were caused by a neurotoxin found in shellfish.

Read more
European Union
Yesterday, 06:30

It is a problem you would expect in the crowded streets of London but a Norfolk market town has become embroiled in a battle against dangerously high pollution levels. If it is not solved residents, particularly children and the elderly, could face serious health risks.

Read more
Norwich
Yesterday, 23:42

The resignation of the region’s ambulance trust’s medical director has been announced just a day after it was alleged 20 people died waiting for help whilst the service was stretched.

Read more
Clive Lewis

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 4°C

min temp: 0°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Fakenham and Wells Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter