A FARM “stench” in North Berwick has led to calls for East Lothian Council to control the spread of manure on the county’s fields.

Members of North Berwick Community Council (NBCC) called on the local authority to “do something” after the town was engulfed with an “unpleasant stench” from a local farm over recent weeks.

The smell is believed to come from manure which is spread on fields at Ferrygate Farm to the east of the town, and Councillor Jim Goodfellow, a ward member, said he had received a number of complaints about the issue.

He said: “I have been approached by a number of business owners who are concerned.

“Spread it by all means but not when there is a westerly wind because businesses in the town are really affected.

“East Lothian Council can only enforce environmental regulations and the advice we have is that they are obeying the regulations.”

Kathryn Smith, NBCC secretary, told the meeting: “I have had quite a few people get in touch about this as well.”

And while Bill Macnair, another NBCC member, believed the spreading was over for this summer, he was keen to see something done to stop the problem in future years.

“I would like to see East Lothian Council look into this because we have got a smell that is affecting people and I don’t think this is acceptable,” he said.

“It has gone on for far too long.”

Mr Macnair went on to read out guidelines published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) that detail conditions around the spreading of manure on farms.

He said: “They give instructions that it should not be done when the wind will affect people, or if the temperature is warm because that can make the smell worse as well.

“I would like to see East Lothian Council come up with something like this.”

Community councillors agreed to write to East Lothian Council to voice their concerns.

Lucy Miller, one of the partners at Ferrygate Farm, told the Courier: “We always spread it within a couple of days so the smell will go away.

“It is a practice that has gone on for hundreds of years and we always keep in contact with the council so they are well aware of what we’re doing and we’re within the guidelines of best practice.”

She also said that the farm, which uses the manure to help grow wheat and barley, had taken steps to minimise the smell.

“We dry it [the manure] to 50 per cent – in our old shed we were only drying it to 25 per cent but we’re trying our best to reduce the ammonia levels,” she added.