A sulphur-like smell which has been frustrating Newton Aycliffe and Darlington residents is set to be resolved "very soon", say bosses of the site emitting the odour.

The Ashcourt Group, located at Aycliffe Quarry in Newton Aycliffe has this week confirmed that work to mitigate the smell escaping from gas pods located on its landfill site is well underway.

Described by locals as a "metallic sulphur" odour, the whiff has been identified across Aycliffe, Brafferton, Darlington and on the A1(M) in recent weeks as many were initially left baffled by where the smell was really coming from.

The Environment Agency then confirmed the source as Ashcourt, stating in a letter to Darlington MP Peter Gibson that landfill gas is mostly made up of methane and carbon dioxide and the presence of hydrogen sulphite gives off a "rotten egg" smell.

The Northern Echo: MP Paul Howell visits Ashcourt.MP Paul Howell visits Ashcourt. (Image: PAUL HOWELL)

Ongoing work on the smell follows involvement from Sedgefield MP Paul Howell and Mr Gibson who revealed they have both received numerous complaints about the stench.

Mr Howell said, following meetings with Ashcourt on December 21, that work on the gas pods will be ongoing into 2024.

He added: "The meetings were constructive in that we now have a clear statement that the smell should go away after January 21st.

"I will be monitoring closely that this is the case as it is disappointing that it has taken so long to sort. It should also make it clear whether there are continuing issues elsewhere on the estate.

"If there are, we need to see urgent action. Let’s hope we are finally seeing the end of this awful pong."

A spokesperson for Ashcourt, David Glover added: "We are keen to be a good neighbour and to bring a benefit to the local community. 

"We have experienced some issues on site and are working hard to improve the infrastructure. 

"We are in regular communication with the Environment Agency and hope to have this matter resolved very soon."

The Environment Agency previously commented that they ordered the site to make improvements.


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A spokesperson said: "Together with our partners at Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council, we’ve been investigating odour issues in Newton Aycliffe and Darlington since September and our enquiries have found the odours are coming from the Aycliffe Quarry Landfill site.

"The operator does have a landfill gas extraction system and we have instructed them to make improvements to this system.

"They have provided us with a programme of work which started in early November and includes installing additional gas extraction wells and capping work to seal in the waste.

"We understand these odours are not pleasant for the community and we are monitoring the progress and effectiveness of this work. We expect that as it progresses the frequency and intensity of the odour will diminish."