Scottish Government order review into ‘Seafield stench’

Ben Macpherson says the review is a step forward to tackling odours. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Ben Macpherson says the review is a step forward to tackling odours. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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ENVIRONMENT Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced a strategic review of the Seafield sewage works in response to years of complaints from residents over the smell which often envelopes the neighbourhood.

She said the review would produce recommendations for improvements at the plant to tackle the stink, as well as guidance for ongoing monitoring and an updated odour management plan.

The move comes just weeks after campaigners accused Ms Cunningham of an “absolute whitewash” after she said an official report showed the plant was well run and odours were “very rare”.

The report on sewage works throughout Scotland was described as “the most wide-ranging review ever carried out” but it coincided with a “horrendous” smell from Seafield which residents said was “probably one of the worst smell incidents we’ve ever had”.

They said that despite investment over the years, the notorious “Seafield stench” still plagued residents in the area, sometimes forcing them to stay indoors on warm days.

Ms Cunningham met a delegation of residents along with Edinburgh Northern & Leith SNP MSP Ben Macpherson last month over the issue.

And she announced the review in a letter to the MSP. It said: “The key action following that meeting was to put into rapid progress a full strategic site review of the Seafield Waste Water treatment works. I also considered that the surrounding waste water network in Edinburgh should be included in the review in so far as it can influence odour at the site.”

She said she expected the review to be completed within the next six months.

Ms Cunningham said it would look at “the operation, design and maintenance” of the Seafield plant, with a direct focus on the way odour is managed under all operating and weather conditions.

It would also look at the operation and maintenance of the sewerage network feeding into Seafield in relation to odour control.

And it would examine the “effectiveness and current implementation” of the code of practice, odour management plan and site controls in relation to odour management and monitoring.

The review would also study odour complaint data and consult with all relevant stakeholders including Scottish Water, the city council, Scottish Environment Protection Agency and community groups and representatives.

Mr Macpherson said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government is working closely with myself and the community to properly tackle the issues at Seafield, which affect many of my constituents.”

He said the review would engage with the community and also include consideration of on-site operational and capital options.

“This is a strong and significant step forward towards further reducing instances of odour nuisances and working towards eliminating them. It will investigate the situation at Seafield fully and determine the necessary action that needs to be taken to deal with the issues and improve day-to-day life for the community.”