A PUNGENT smell which was puzzling Monmouthshire council staff on the run-up to Christmas was traced to a nearby farmer’s field.

  Colleagues based at Innovation House, Magor, had complained of odour problems apparent on a couple of days last week.

  The ‘rotten eggs’ smell was reported to the council’s Environmental Health officers and enquiries were made with the assistance of Newport council, the Environment Agency and Welsh Water to find out where it was coming from.

  On Thursday, chief officer for regeneration and culture, Kellie Beirne e-mailed all staff to say the council was aware of the smell in the building and the surrounding area.

  A subsequent e-mail from David O’Leary said from the search EHOs found it was coming from two local farmers spreading manure on their land, with some of the fields in fairly close proximity to Innovation House.

  He said it appeared that one of them applied a particular additive to the manure to aid its composting which may have been responsible for the particular sulphurous nature of the smell.

  He added the farmer assured the council he will not be using it again.

Staff were told to report any further problems.