Why the wait for action over flies in Grangemouth?

The packed public meeting in Oswald Avenue Day Centre
The packed public meeting in Oswald Avenue Day Centre
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Residents slammed the organisations involved in the long-running fly infestation which has blighted their town.

At a packed public meeting in Grangemouth called by local councillor Joan Paterson last week, representatives from Oran Environmental Solutions, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Falkirk Council were slammed by angry householders for their perceived lack of action over the problem, which has plagued them for the last three years.

Oran chief executive Tom Gleeson apologised to residents for the delay in getting £250,000 worth of improvement works to the site at 
Abbotsinch Industrial Estate running effectively, but people wanted to know just what Oran, the council and SEPA had been doing to solve the problem.

One resident stated: “It seems to me Oran, SEPA and Falkirk Council are totally incompetent.”

There were also calls for Falkirk Council to terminate its recycling contract with Oran, which is due to come up for renewal in the new year.

Mr Gleeson said the door was still open for people to tour the Oran facility and even agreed to visit homes of those affected by the fly problem.

He added: “There was little point meeting the residents until we had made the improvements on site. We have a fly problem I accept that, but I know the level of flies has dropped in the last few weeks and we are making continuous improvements.”

Anti-fly campaigner Maureen Downs was one of the organisers of the protest which took place outside Oran earlier in the year. She wanted to know why SEPA and Falkirk Council had let the problem go on for so long.

She said: “We have had assurances things will be rectified, but they have not.”

Walter Inglis, former convener of Grangemouth Community Council, asked why Oran had a licence to operate issued to them in the first place if the premises so much work done to modify it.

SEPA director of operations Calum MacDonald said he now had a “greater appreciation” of the situation and he too offered to visit houses in the area to listen to residents.

Councillor Robert Spears got a few disbelieving looks when he claimed the flies had been biting him, but his main points focused on Falkirk Council’s part in bringing Oran to the town.

He said: “I blame the company for bringing this problem to the town, but I blame Falkirk Council for allowing the site to be located so near housing. I also blame SEPA for not providing adequate protection.”