Concerns over compensation disparity over Ensus odours

Ensus plant at the Wilton site near Redcar

Ensus plant at the Wilton site near Redcar

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

A VILLAGER has hit out after differing compensation payments were made to people affected by strong odours eminating from a biofuel plant.

Philip Hepple, whose Lazenby home overlooks the Ensus plant near Redcar, is now warning other residents currently seeking compensation to be aware they could lose out.

So far the company has settled 56 complainants in the east Cleveland village with payouts ranging from more than £1,000 down to £533.

The litigation was handled by Hugh James Solicitors and arose following months of problems at the plant in 2010 and the following year.

Mr Hepple said: “This is not about how much money one person has got compared to one another, it is about how the solicitors came to the decision. There was apparently an offer of £850 per property in the village affected by the smell but that is not what some people received.

“I have tried to discover what the formula was that was used to determine the payouts but what I have been told is impossible to understand.

“My property is one of the closest in the village to the plant, yet I have been one of ones who received the least amount of money and I can’t understand how that has happened.”

The pungent smell emanating from the bioethanol plant at Wilton had plagued residents since it opened in 2010 and the company spent millions attempting to address the odour coming from the plant’s regenerative thermal oxidizers.

Mr Hepple added: “I am aware that the same firm of solicitors are handling the compensation claims from other residents in the village, who missed it the first time around, and I wouldn’t like the same thing to happen to them.

“All I want is a bit of transparency from the solicitors about how they reached the figure for each household but nothing has been forthcoming from them.”

A spokeswoman for Hugh James Solicitors said the firm was unable to comment on the payouts as there was ongoing litigation involving other people affected by the odour problem.

The plant is now under new ownership after CropEnergies AG, one of Europe's largest bioethanol producers, bought the factory in July and put £50m into the site.

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