Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling on something to be done about the infamous ‘Penrith pong’.

Residents in Penrith have been fighting against the bad smell that hangs over the town for more than a decade.

But, recently the smell has returned.

This is despite assurances made in 2014 that the smell be monitored.

Now, more than 350 residents from the town have signed a petition calling on something to be done to resolve the smell once and for all.

Jeff Thomson, a resident of Penrith, started the online petition when the smell returned during the last May bank holiday.

He said: “In these days of environmental awareness, residents of Penrith and visiting tourists deserve to breathe fresh air.

“It is an economic burden, as there is no telling the harm the smell has done to the tourism industry, putting off visitors and thwarting new holiday investment.”

The smell that comes from the Omega Proteins plant, based on the outskirts of the town, is apparently so pungent it has pushed people to move out of Penrith, become wary of buying property in the area, and keep their windows closed regardless of the weather.

Omega Proteins is an animal rendering facility which means it processes by-products from abattoirs, meat-processing plants, and catering companies to create oils and meals which then get used by various other industries.

A spokesman for Omega Proteins said: “They are very conscious of the operation they have there and they want to be good neighbours, hence the investments. What they’re doing is putting in a new oxidiser, which helps eliminate odours, as well as a covered trailer yard.”

Protests come as the company has submitted a planning application to the Eden District Council to extend the premises. The proposed building would be a trailer wash facility that the company says will “improve working conditions and reduce the risk to personnel posed by gasses that can be given off by animal by-products.”

In mid-June, the Environment Agency sent a letter to Penrith residents noting that Omega Proteins had investigated the source of the smell and found five potential issues that it was trying to fix.

These issues are:problems with oxidisers that treat the smell, refurbishment of biofilters, power outages, material waiting to be processed, and cracks in the walls that allowed the odour to escape.

Mr Thomson said: “It is time the town’s establishment and elected representatives, from MP to town council, started speaking with ‘one voice’ and put residents, their electors, before big business.

“Penrith and tourism would benefit greatly without this ‘albatross around the town’s neck’.”