Agenda and minutes

SecAnim (J L Thomas) Liaison Group - Wednesday 17th October 2018 5.30 pm

Venue: Bad Homburg Room, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter. View directions

Contact: Jo Quinnell, Assistant Democratic Services Officer (Committees)  Telephone 01392 265197 or email

No. Item


Appointment of Chair


Councillor Hannan was appointed as Chair.




Apologies were received from Councillor Sills, Councillor Foale and John Staddon (Residents Representative).


Notes of meeting held on 21 March 2018 pdf icon PDF 153 KB


The notes of the meeting held on 21 March 2018 were agreed as a correct record.


Process update


Nick Parsons reported that production volumes remained stable and in line with 2018 forecasts.  Seasonal winter increases are expected to remain at targeted levels.  Operational reliability continues to be good.


The new effluent cooling system was commissioned in April 2018 and has performed well and as designed.  This has led to improved quality of effluent discharge from the site.


The new planned maintenance software has now been fully integrated to the site and is providing an improved facility for planning and recording of all operational maintenance including environmental critical assets.


The redundant water tank has now been removed from the front aspect of the site which improves aesthetics.


Future works, pending Board approval, include:


·         Replacement and relocation of the large Flakt ducting and fan (moving to ground level)

·         Installation of new electrical panels for the pressroom area

·         Warehouse refurbishment

·         Continued removal of redundant equipment, improving site aesthetics.


The hot summer was challenging for the whole industry, with the increase in degradation of raw material.  The quick collection of carcasses is key as older and less consistent stock is much harder to process.  


Complaints received since the last meeting pdf icon PDF 164 KB

Additional documents:


The report attached to the agenda details complaints made since the last meeting and the results of any investigations.


A complaints summary was circulated (attached) which details comparisons for each quarter back to 2002. The number of complaints received by complainant and road were noted and each complainant is given a number, eg resident C1 in Marsh Green Road North has made a complaint on nine occasions.  This property is particularly close to the factory.


This summer saw exceptional weather and only compared to 2003 when a similar spell of hot weather was experienced.


50 complaints had been received to date, being higher than the last three years.  However, it was noted that prior to that, complaint numbers had not been below 50 since 2002.


Particular reference was made to 12 June where five complaints had been made in one day.  This related to a fault that the factory had notified the City Council of prior to any complaints being received.  The incident meant odourous untreated air was being released.  The factory ceased running for 30 minutes to investigate and rectify.  Investigations carried out by the City Council identified that the factory could not have foreseen the event, and as a result increased checks had been put in place throughout all relevant Saria operations.


Furthermore, during the period of 27 July to 1 August, 16 complaints were made which was at the end of a very hot few weeks.  Most complaints had been received over the weekend and evening so officers were not able to investigate at that time. 


Discussions were continuing on how raw material quality can be improved and this needs to be looked at for the industry as a whole.  The Senior Environmental Health Technician reported that she had recently attended a meeting which included the Environment Agency, operators and regulators to discuss a change to the guidance on how this can be regulated.  It would go through the EU process over the next three years which may result in some recommendations on a national and EU scale.  A further meeting with the factory’s management was scheduled in November to identify any further improvements.


In terms of communicating any problems to residents, particular reference was made to the incident on 12 June.  The factory had phoned Exeter City Council as soon as a problem was identified ensuring that all complainants phoning the City Council could be made aware of the issue and that the factory was in the process of rectifying it.  This satisfied most complainants.  A letter was now on record to explain what happened on this occasion.


A residents representative highlighted a particular complaint referring to the low number of complaints received, but that odours are still regularly present in a number of areas.  Some residents are of the opinion that they cannot change the situation, so don’t complain.  Reassurance was sought that there is no complacency as there are a lot of residents who are unsatisfied with the situation.


The Senior Environmental Health Technician  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Any other business


There was no other business.


Date of next meeting - 20 March 2019


The date of the next meeting was noted.