Public meetings begin with representatives of the Leo Group, which runs Omega Protein animal rendering plant near Denholme

An action group hopes that meeting with the company it says is responsible for “offensive odours” in several villages will be a positive step forward.

Representatives of the Leo Group, which runs Omega Protein animal rendering plant near Denholme, held the first of two public drop-in sessions on Monday night with the aim of creating a liaison group with residents.

Among the first people to arrive at the meeting in Denholme Mechanics’ Institute were members of Stop Omega Stink, an action group of residents who want the company to work harder to prevent smells from the plant leaking into the surrounding countryside.

Residents say problems relating to the factory affect areas including Denholme, Thornton, Queensbury and Cross Roads.

Bradford council received 191 complaints about the company, mostly related to odour, between January 2011 and June this year.

But company representatives said they wanted to work closer with the community through the liaison group to deal with such issues.

Jane Brindle, group technical manager, said: “We want to keep people informed because a lot of people don’t know what happens at the plant.”

Brian Maguire, group property manager, said the Leo Group had set up successful liaison groups at their other plants, including at Penrith and Swailsmoor.

He acknowledged there were a lot of critics of their Omega Proteins site, adding: “We hope some of these people turn up to these meetings.”

SOS group chairman, Lynette Cadamarteri, said: “I think it could be a beginning of a dialogue, and I hope it will be.

“I spoke to them for some time about the issues, and if the plant continues to negatively impact residents, I would like them to be a bit more pro-active in doing something about it.

“Our group will discuss how to proceed, but I think a liaison group could be a very positive step forward.”

She encouraged people to attend the second meeting, at the same venue between 5pm and 8pm today, adding: “Hopefully some good does come out of it.”

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