Posted: Fri 16th Jun 2023

Foul “soggy mop” stench lingering over Deeside prompts local councillors into action

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jun 16th, 2023

Over two dozen local councillors, who represent the majority of communities affected by a foul odour, compared to a “soggy mop” smell, are taking action against the environmental nuisance plaguing Deeside.

Councillors in Deeside have received hundreds of complaints in recent months from residents who state their quality of life has significantly diminished due to the persistent and invasive stench.

They have now written a joint letterr to Flintshire County Council urging them to “investigate without delay and identify the source” in a bid to get to grips with the foul smell.

The smell, which has been likened to a ‘soggy mop’ or ‘damp, rotting clothes,’ reportedly intensifies around the Chemistry Lane area of Pentre.

Depending on wind direction, the odour spreads, affecting various parts of the community.

The smell has been relentless and has worsened in recent months, seeping into streets and homes.

Sandycroft and Mancot are particularly affected, but many reports also indicate a strong smell in Hawarden, Queensferry, Broughton, and Shotton.

This pervasive odour has compelled residents to shut windows and doors, avoid hanging laundry outside, and limit children’s outdoor activities.

Residents are growing increasingly concerned about the health implications of poor air quality.

Many have decided not to open their windows or allow their children to play outdoors because of the foul smell.


In a letter to Flintshire County Council, a group of 26 councillors, including its Deputy Leader Cllr Christine Jones, and representatives from Connah’s Quay, Hawarden, Mancot, Shotton, and Queensferry, stated:

“We are working as a team to assist our constituents who are significantly impacted by this environmental concern.”

“We have received over 300 complaints from residents affected by an intense foul smell which seems to travel with the wind.”

The letter states: “Our residents’ complaints range from Connah’s Quay to Broughton and Garden City to Ewloe and all areas in between.”

“The smell is distinctive and described as resembling a soggy mop or damp rotting clothes.”

It goes on to say: “The residents suffer not only from poor air quality but they experience a significant reduction in their quality of life.”

“They are unable to let children play outside or to open their windows because the odour fills the house. They are extremely worried about their health.”

“This air pollution is not merely an unpleasant odour. It’s an environmental issue significantly affecting the quality of life.”

“We urge you to investigate without delay, identify the source, and control this issue so we can report back to our constituents.”

Shotton Town Councillor, Dean Stenner, has been spearheading the effort to tackle the foul odour issue.

He said: “I have personally determined the smell seems to be most intense around the Chemistry Lane area of Pentre and it moves with the wind direction from there.”

While Cllr Stennar hasn’t pointed a finger at any particular business or source, Chemistry Lane is home to the huge Knauf Insulation site, notable for its 40m high chimney stack. approached Knauf and asked if they had received any complaints about the mystery oudour.

A spokesperson said: “As a significant local employer and a responsible manufacturer, we are committed to maintaining a safe and energy-efficient environment.”

“Our environmental responsibilities are a priority, and we cooperate with relevant bodies, including National Resources Wales (NRW), to ensure our plant’s emissions in Queensferry remain within permitted limits.”

“These emissions, largely steam and a normal by-product of our manufacturing process are harmless to humans and the environment.”

“We adhere strictly to guidelines under our environmental permit, provided by NRW, which stipulates our operation’s required conduct and emission limits.”

NRW says its officers have ruled out Knauf and other industrial sites in the area as the source.

Carys Williams, NRW Team Leader for Waste Regulation in North East Wales, said:

“We can confirm that we have had a number of incidents reported to us about odour in the Deeside area.

“NRW officers have thoroughly investigated the matter and attended all waste and industry sites that fall under our regulation on several occasions.”

“We have since ruled out any of these sites from being the source of the odour.”

“We will continue to work closely with colleagues at Flintshire County Council to identify the source.” contacted Flintshire County Council about the growing number of complaints regarding the smell in May, but the council failed to respond.

A Facebook page has been set up to collate reports from local residents, noting the times and locations where the smell is most potent.

Dozens of reports are posted daily. For example, on Thursday, Helen wrote: “The smell was present for most of yesterday. Some days it’s stronger than others, reminiscent of an ammonia/chemical fertiliser.”

Sarahann added: “Smelt that smell from 11.30 this morning in Sandycroft.”

Kaarin queried: “Could that be the smell of farmers fertilising the fields, or a stale water/dirty mop smell?”

Brenda commented: “Horrible smell this morning, different from the mop-like smell, possibly farm smells? I had to close my windows and doors; it’s so bad, North street.”

Sharon observed: “Driving over the A494 Queensferry bridge, the smell was horrendous at about 7am. It seemed to be coming from the water underneath.”

Gill reported: “6pm, Shotton main road. Smells like dirty, damp washing. I’m relieved I’m not the only one who has noticed this!”

Reacting to their constituents’ concerns, the 26 councillors have implored environmental authorities to swiftly investigate and control this issue.

The group has proposed a meeting with an officer from the Environmental Agency or NRW (Natural Resources Wales) for further discussions.

The unified stance of these councillors sends a powerful message about community action and the need for swift, effective responses to environmental issues that significantly impact people’s daily lives.

You can join the Facebook group here:

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