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December 1969

Petitioners tell of disgusting stench
   A smouldering slag heap at Standish gives off such obnoxious fumes that a local resident is threatening to enlist the help of his MP if the local council fails to rid the district of the nuisance.
   A petition signed by 39 residents of Chorley Road, Bridge Avenue and Hawthorn Avenue in the Boar's Head area of Standish was received by the local Health Committee on Tuesday night.
   And after hearing that the residents believed the fumes were a health hazard, officials of Standish Council were given "blanket power" to take action.
   A letter from Mr. A. Smith - who collected the signatures - stated that the spoil banks were a left-over from the old Victoria Colliery.
   He said: "The air reeks of sulphur fumes and we think this constitutes a serious hazard to health. A number of people have told me that they suffer from bronchitis that they never had before and they are convinced it is because of the pollution."
   "If something isn't done immediately to remove this distinguishing stench, I promise you I will personally notify the Member of Parliament of this nuisance."
   Standish Council's Chief Public Health Inspector, Mr. B. L. Parker, said the letter was a true statement of the situation and was the reaction of a reasonable man.
   The nuisance created by the spoil heap had been discussed before and a letter had gone to the present owners a month ago. A reply had not been received.
   The Committee heard that because of the terrible smell, one person had threatened to with-hold his rates.
   A letter to the owners from Standish Council stated that their excavations and removal of red shale from the spoil bank had only served to activate combustion on a scale never before known.
   The combustion was now spreading into the pre-1940 part of the heap.
   Mr. Parker said that when the wind blew in a certain direction, the bad smell could be detected near the Cherry Gardens Hotel at Wigan.
   Committee Chairman, Councillor E. Garner said it seemed they were getting little co-operation from the owners and the time had arrived for action.
   At the suggestion of Councillor J. Healen, the Committee agreed to give their officials blanket power to deal with the situation.
   The Clerk, Mr. H. W. Harris, said certain lines of action were already in operation but he added "I would rather not disclose anything more at the moment."

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