IF the sun shines this weekend, spare a thought for the good folk of Lower Wick who'll be tempted to throw their windows and doors open - and then think twice.

Each rare day of sunshine this summer has presented them all with the same horror, the stench drifting over the housing estate from Severn Trent's sewage treatment works.

If the experiences of resident Michael Clift are anything to go by, to the last man, they're fed up.

After all, who'd be happy taking the risk that your visitors might detect something ghastly before you have the chance to offer an explanation? Who indeed?

Not the officials at Ofwat, the water industry regulator, who've received colourful descriptions of the smell and passed the complaint over to Severn Trent.

Not the officials of Severn Trent, who've been plagued with moans over the past decade, yet remain months from the end of a £5.5m refurbishment which, among other things, will sort out a rogue digester.

Not the environmental health officers at Worcester City Council, who say Severn Trent are so far down the line towards sweeter-smelling sewage that there's no point in taking any legal action, as they could.

On the face of it, taken separately, they're reasonable responses to Mr Clift's withering condemnation of the organisations who exist to make an inoffensive, unoffending individual's lot more bearable.

But, on balance, our sympathies lie with him - and the thousands of others who are wishing their lives away in an effort to be rid of the blight.

He's right to feel let down by the city for not using its legal powers ages ago. He's right to consider that Ofwat might have taken up his case.

And, if he's thought of it, he's right to expect Severn Trent to compensate him - and all his neighbours - for the atrocious effect they've had on so many lives.