A RECYCLING plant has been criticised by the Environment Agency for storing unauthorised waste after residents complained of a noxious stench hanging over their village.

Recycled in Orsett Ltd was inspected by the government body after receiving numerous complaints, revealing 500 tonnes of waste – mostly shredded plastic – that the company was not authorised to receive.

Inspectors said the smell was caused by the plastic coming into contact with degradable waste on the Stanford Road site.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said it was so bad people had become confined to their homes.

She said: “It was the most disgusting smell and it went all the way out to Stanford depending on which way the wind was blowing.

“It was so noxious, people couldn’t go outside, it made them feel physically sick.”

In a letter addressed to South Basildon and East Thurrock MP Stephen Metcalfe and forwarded to residents, the agency said “recent activities” on the site were not what it would expect from a “reasonable operator.”

The company was given until July 9 to remove the waste and, while it has not yet complied with this, it has taken steps to reduce the impact on residents.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “The company has not yet removed the waste from the site but it has stabilised to give off less of an odour.

“We are further investigating the breach of permit and at the same time looking into the best way for the waste to be removed that minimises any possible effect on local residents.”

In 2011, 40,000 tonnes of waste caught fire at the site and burned for 38 days, with nearby residents suffering various illnesses and fatigue.

Issues can be reported to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060.