THE OPERATORS of a controversial anaerobic digester plant in Farleigh Wallop has responded to claims from councillors that the plant should close.

As reported in last week's Gazette, Hampshire County Councillor Stephen Reid and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Councillor Dan Putty, who represent areas affected by odour pollution caused by the plant, had called on the Environment Agency to close the plant.

However, responding to the councillors claims, Biogen, who acquired the plant in 2018, said that improvements had already taken place.

Kate Lister, compliance director, said: "It is our understanding that malodours in the locations prescribed in the previous press release have not been substantiated by the Regulatory Bodies, however, despite this, Biogen are fully committed to working with the Environment Agency to further improve the systems on site and wish to reassure local residents that positive action has been taken and will continue to be taken if required in response to the concerns raised.

"Biogen acquired the anaerobic digestion plant near Farleigh Wallop in 2018, and since that time has made significant investment to deliver both environmental and process improvements. This includes, but is not limited to, a new biofilter which was installed in late 2019.

"Detailed Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) analysis has been undertaken by a specialist laboratory, both on the original filter installed by the former operators and the new filter installed by Biogen.

"The results show a good level of improvement in the performance of the new filter when compared to the original biofilter. This is expected to improve further following some further recent modifications.

"Biogen has also committed to invest in further modifications, the first stage of these modifications were completed on February 7, 2020, and further works are planned for the week commencing March 2, 2020."

Results from analysis also shows that a new filter installed has shown a "good level of improvement".

The EA said they are working with Biogen, whilst Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council said they are aware of the issue.