A SMELL which is causing Tipner residents to feel unwell will not begin to get better until Christmas.
People with homes on Twyford Avenue, Tipner Green and other nearby streets on the north-west side of Portsmouth say the smell is unbearable.
As reported in The News earlier this month, neighbours claim they have been unwell from the fumes, which they say smells similar to that of creosote.
They say they have been getting nausea, headaches, sore throats and have even been physically sick because of the pong.
The smell is a result of work being carried out by specialist construction company The Tamdown Group, on behalf of site owner Homes and Communities Agency, to decontaminate soil at the former PD Fuels site.
Work started in June and, following complaints from neighbours, 24-hour odour suppressants were installed and potentially odorous materials are now covered or mechanically sealed outside of working hours.
The smell is released when the soil is disturbed – and that work will continue until at least Christmas, a spokesman for HCA said.
He added: ‘We have great sympathy for the residents and we do acknowledge their concerns.
‘But what we have to bear in mind is what we’re trying to achieve here, which is to regenerate a derelict area and we’re dealing with a heavily contaminated site, especially the area which was formerly PD Fuels.’
He added that the air quality is monitored by two independent companies to ensure that any gases – known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – released into the atmosphere are within safe limits.
He added: ‘The worst of it should be over before Christmas.’
Diane Lendrum, a Twyford Avenue resident, said the smell was similar to strong, concentrated creosote.
She has been meeting the HCA team regularly to represent the residents’ views and try to establish when their air will be clean again.
She said: ‘This smell has been in the air since July, and it’s not just Twyford Avenue that gets it. It can spread down to
Walden Road, and up towards the Hilsea Lido, depending on which way the wind blows.
‘I’m not disputing whether the VOCs are within safe limits or not, but behind my house is a school, with children breathing it in. The smell is just anti-social.’