Eye-opening visit to British Sugar factory casts doubt over source of mysterious Norfolk smell
PUBLISHED: 08:20 27 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:22 27 July 2017
A woman who visited the British Sugar plant in west Norfolk says she has doubts over whether the mysterious smell that swept the county last month could have originated there.
Throughout June people from across Norfolk were left puzzled by a strange smell that many attributed to a deal between British Sugar and GW Pharmaceuticals, which meant the glasshouse in Wissington, near Downham Market, would grow marijuana plants for medicinal purposes.
It had been causing one Norfolk resident, who did not wish to be identified, to feel nauseous and suffer from headaches.
When the office of South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss contacted the plant’s glasshouse manager about the resident’s symptoms she was invited to visit Wissington to see if she could identify the same smell as the one she smelt at home.
However, it did not go the way she had expected.
“I was fully expecting to be hit with the smell as soon as I got there but I wasn’t,” she said. “The mature plant house smells of nettles and woodland, there’s a fairly strong aroma but not obnoxious. The house with the new plants smells of nothing at all and the drying room was empty but had a mild smell.
“The field outside smelt only of compost. It was quite frustrating and yet eye opening because I was 100pc sure that I would smell ‘the smell’ as soon as I got there.”
The team at the plant explained they have a number of processes in place to identify whether Wissington is the cause of the smell, including closing blinds and air vents for five hours before opening up, as well as using various testing equipment.
They said are very keen to find the cause of the smell and suggested there may be other sources such as the ponds next to the factory being dredged or a new kind of aphicide used by farmers to spray crops.
“I can’t say for absolute certain the smell isn’t coming from there, however, it was not present on the day of my visit. I smelt it the day before and that is the last time I have since,” said the resident.
A spokesperson for British Sugar said: “We have responded individually to every resident who contacted us and logged all the information they provided. We have not received any complaints for over a week but when we did we offered to visit people as well as inviting residents to our site.”