Belton dog food firm loses appeal over licence

Residents whose lives were blighted by a smelly dog food plant have claimed victory after the company lost its appeal against the decision to strip it of its licence.
The removal of 18 tonnes of dog biscuits dumped by Welham Estates.The removal of 18 tonnes of dog biscuits dumped by Welham Estates.
The removal of 18 tonnes of dog biscuits dumped by Welham Estates.

Belton-based Welham Estates, lost appeals against the revocation of its licence and refusal to vary the environmental permit conditions after the planning inspector confirmed that the council had no other option than to take action.

The company, that went into administration in January, had its permit withdrawn by North Lincolnshire Council in November 2012 after a string of complaints about the smell caused by the plant in Belton Road, as well as failure to dispose of waste properly.

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The company were previously fined £10,000 for burying 18 tonnes of dog biscuits in 2012.

A new company, set to take over the plant have pledged to work with the community and use a different production method ensure there no environmental issues arise.

North Lincolnshire’s environmental team said Welham Estates had a poor record of complying with earlier regulatory requirements, and that other enforcement tools had been exhausted

Following the appeal decision a North Lincolnshire Council spokesperson said: “We will take action where a company fails to comply with the law.

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“Many people complained about the offensive smells and it is our duty to investigate.

“We are pleased with the outcome. It sends out a strong message that, where all else fails, we will take legal action.”

Complaints, included bad smells, the burning and burying of rubbish, and rats amongst decomposing bakery waste.

The council received an application for a new environmental permit at the site from Belton Pet Foods Ltd in March.

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The council is currently working with the new company to secure the necessary improvement at the site.

A spokesman for the council said the site would no longer use bakery and bread waste in its manufacturing process - thought to be the major cause of the smells.

Belton Pet Foods is a new company that will sit in a group alongside Grove Pet Foods.

John Walgate, Director of Grove Pet Foods said: “We are committed to working with and have engaged with the local community through the parish council since January and some local residents have even visited our existing site at Retford to see our operation there. Our company is a family owned responsible manufacturer, which has traded for over 100 years in the north of England.

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“Crucially, we will not be producing pet food using food surplus products in the way that Welham Estates did, which we suspect was a large part of previous problems. We only use locally grown cereals in our process and have been operating at our current site for over 25 years without any environmental issues.”

Belton Pet Foods Ltd acquired the trade and assets of Welham Estates from the administrator in January.

The firm is in the process of applying for a new environmental licence from the local council and improving the site before becoming operational.