Exeter residents kick up stink over smelly lorries full of corpses

Lorries carrying dead animals have been kicking up a stink – making Alphington Road the ‘smelliest route’ into Exeter. The stench of death said to be coming from knacker lorries delivering dead animals to be processed at SecAnim, near Exeter Quay, has led one resident to nickname them ‘stinkers.’ Others said its lorries smelt like “a dying rat, only ten times worse” and another spoke of the impact it had had on her young daughter.

Exeter City Council’s Environmental Health team has no legislative control over the odour coming from vehicles on the road, but they can liaise with SecAnim if it’s definitely one of theirs. And every so often the council and residents will gather in person to discuss the many complaints they receive about the factory and its delivery lorries; with the latest heard yesterday (October 2). Many complaints come from Haven Road and Alphington Road – the route the lorries take to get the animal corpses to the factory off Water Lane.

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In a particular smelly incident in July a flood of complaints came in after two lorry loads of dead chickens arrived at the SecAnim plant.

The factory said that they were national surplus and the hot weather had made it smell more than usual.

SecAnim Exeter

One mum wrote to Environmental Health telling that the smell had panicked her 3-year-old daughter. She wrote: “We are coming into the summer months when we want to spend time in the garden and have windows open and unfortunately the awful smell emanating from the lorries is sometimes unbearable. My 3 year old was earlier “scared” of the smell when she was at the park near the Harvester and had a bit of a panic as she couldn’t understand what it was.

“A vehicle drove past on Water Lane leaving a putrid smell in its wake that lingered for some time.” One complainant said they were crossing Alphington Street at 9:45am and saw a SecAnim lorry coming up Alphington Street turning right on to Haven Road. She said the lorry was “very smelly, and was driving too fast.”

She thinks they were trying to beat the red light branded the incident “dangerous and reckless.”

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The vehicle speed would be checked and the driver spoken to Another unhappy resident wrote: “We keep getting a horrible smell from outside our house and along our street, the only way I can’t describe the smell is a dying rat but ten times worse and has been consistent for a few weeks now.” Another wrote: “Regularly, multiple times a day – throughout the working week, SecAnim lorries pass our property along Alphington Road on their way to their disposal plant on by the canal.

“The smell is horrendous, a thick blanket of odour rolls out from the top of the high sided curtain covered trailers into our garden and through open windows, ruining the enjoyment of our house and garden and whatever we happen to be doing until it has dissipated.”

Exeter residents kick up stink over smelly lorries full of corpsesSecAnim Exeter

“I have just been subjected to the most offensive smell i have ever experienced walking along Haven Road,” added another, “I did not get a registration as I was too busy trying to soothe my gagging toddler.” In July, a resident said: “Between the hours of 11am and 2pm on weekdays, the disgusting smell of diseased animal corpses being destroyed is potent from this disgusting business.

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“Its lorries also use the corridor of Alphington Street and Road: there are normally 3-5 lorries transporting these corpses DAILY.

“It is questionable that some lorries are even properly covered at the top. Such a business should not be operating within the city, but on the outskirts: this is causing problems for local residents and owners of businesses, such as cafes, pubs and restaurants. “Local residents are unable to sell their houses due to that factory – and most of the houses were there before the factory.”

One person said a truck had actually leaked waste onto Haven Road, which the factory said had been ‘category two’ non-hazardous waste.

poll loading

Have you caught a whiff of the processing plant in Exeter?

500+ VOTES SO FAR

No, I don’t know what the fuss is about

Yes, and it’s not very nice

Yes, but I don’t mind the smell

So what is the full story behind the smell?

Exeter residents kick up stink over smelly lorries full of corpsesThe SecAnim plant in Exeter

J L Thomas started out as merchants who sold oil and lamp and tallow in Exeter. Based at the island site of Shilhay, at the herat of the city’s woolen industry, the firm was owned by a co-partnership of Francis Radford Thomas and James Langdone Thomas. The firm moved into the production of small quantities of soap and candles during the 1890’s and included such products as ‘Forez’.

The company was incorporated on 10 December 1908 and was acquired by Lever Brothers (Yes, the world famous Unillever) in 1918. The production of soap ended at the Shilhay works upon the closure of the soapery at around 1935.

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Exeter History

The company specialised in the manufacture of high grade tallow, meat and bone meals for animals feeding and organic fertilisers. In 1965 the new Spring Gardens factory opened under 200 yards from the original site of J L Thomas & Co.

Ltd, where it sits today next to the canal.

Opened by Mr A.D Bonham-Carter, director of Unilever, the new factory was designed to meet new standards in the production of animal feeds and organic fertilisers.

The main contractors were Woodman and Sons Ltd and the design engineers were Develco Ltd of London.

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