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Legal aid funds civil action against Mogden smells

RESIDENTS LIVING near the Mogden sewage works in west London have been awarded legal aid to fund a multi-million pound civil action against Thames Water Utilities for odour nuisance.

Over 100 cases will be taken up by law fi rm Hugh James to claim compensation for six year's worth of odours from Europe's second largest sewage treatment works.

The residents' action group is also seeking an injunction to prevent the odours returning in the future.

The Mogden Residents Action Group won legal aid last week to claim for damages since 1998.

'We're seeking damages for past suffering, [odour] nuisance damages and loss of enjoyment of property, ' said Hugh James partner Neil Stockdale.

The smell at Mogden has been a local nuisance since 2000, provoking Hounslow Council to issue an abatement notice ordering the water company to reduce odours or face substantial fines. Thames appealed against this order but after a lengthy battle Feltham Magistrate's Court upheld the notice in November 2004 (NCE 18 Nov 2004).

Now that Thames has admitted liability [for the odour] we're suing for damages, ' said Stockdale.

He added that 3,000 people had signed a petition objecting to the odours, so the number of claims could rise substantially.

But a Thames Water spokesman said the odours had reduced over the past three years and improvement work over the next five years - costing £40M - would prevent odours from escaping. He declined to comment on the cases put forward by Hugh James.

The first residents' meeting to discuss legal action will take place on 6 September.

Ruby Kitching

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