What is mystery 'chemical' smell in Leighton Buzzard?

'I think it's worse during the evenings and it can put you off from going into your back garden'

By Joanna Gravett
Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 12:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 1:16 pm

Leighton Buzzard residents have reported a mystery "chemical" smell in town which is invading homes and gardens.

It is claimed that the odour was first noticed around one month ago and that it can even be detected in the High Street, with residents contacting the LBO to find out the cause.

Individuals have pointed the finger at Forticrete, Boss Avenue, claiming that they believe the smell is coming from the site, and that it can be smelt from the bridge at the bottom of Parson's Close Recreation Ground.

Leighton Buzzard High Street. Photo: Jane Russell.

However, Forticrete has told the LBO that it takes its "environmental responsibilities very seriously" and that it is not the source of the smell.

A resident who lives nearby Boss Avenue, but wished to remain anonymous, claimed: "I can smell it through the house, and then I noticed that someone had posted about it on Facebook. I think it's worse during the evenings and it can put you off from going into your back garden.

"I can also smell it in the high street because you start noticing it.

"It's not really a worry, more an annoyance. I'd be flabbergasted if it was something harmful to your health.

"I'd just like to know what it is, and why, if it has to be released, that it can't be done at four in the morning instead of during the day."

The man told the LBO that he contacted Forticrete to ask for information but that he did not receive a reply.

"That wasn't very neighbourly or courteous of them," he claimed.

However, the cause of the smell still remains a mystery.

A Forticrete spokeswoman insisted the company wasn't the source and added that the recent leakage of non-hazardous red dye into Clipstone Brook from its site (as previously reported on by the LBO here) was not linked to the smell.

She said: "We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously.

"Unfortunately, a few weeks ago a small amount of a non-hazardous material left our site through the surface water drain which discharged into the local river following heavy rain. We implemented clean-up procedures promptly and informed Anglian Water and the Environment Agency who subsequently visited our site and were satisfied that the incident had been dealt with appropriately. We continue to work with a specialist external contractor to address any remaining residue within the drainage system.

"However, we would like to emphasise that the non-hazardous material is odourless and does not pose any environmental or safety risk. In addition, we have completed further checks on all of our production processes which have confirmed that they are operating correctly.

"We are therefore confident that the incident is not the source of the chemical smell being reported by residents. As an additional precautionary measure, we will increase our usual procedure checks and monitoring, and will also inform the relevant authorities of the complaint, as this may be driven by another source in the area."

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokeswoman, said: "“Our pollution team are aware of this and are currently undertaking an investigation into what is causing it.”

> Do you know what could be causing the smell? Have you noticed it, if so whereabouts did you smell it and at what time of day? Email: [email protected]