Residents fear for their health after unsatisfactory response to landfill odours

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Newcastle-under-Lyme residents are unhappy with the response to smells coming from Walleys Quarry Landfill site despite a community meeting.

The meeting on 15 February saw over 90 residents attend to air their views on the ‘eggy’ smells coming from the site.

Local MP Paul Farrelly, Environment Agency, Staffordshire County Council and Newcastle Borough councillors attended.

Steve Meakin of Poolfield Avenue arranged the meeting.

Image courtesy of Steve Meakin.

He said: “Last night it was absolutely terrible. It’s a horrible gas, eggy smell.

“My fear is it is going to affect people’s health, and all were trying to do is to encourage the Environment Agency to investigate that it isn’t going to affect our health.

“People are complaining about regular headaches that haven’t suffered them before, sore throats and bad chests. 

“When we had the meeting, we requested people who attend to put their postcode down so we could get visual map of who it was affecting. It went from ST1 to ST6.

“In Newcastle town centre itself, I can smell it and the towns suffering enough with its’ trade without having that smell lingering all around.

 “Between 3 and half past 3 five days a week there’s a massive bang that goes off twice to scare the gulls away.

“Now seagulls don’t eat rocks, there’s got to be something going in there that those seagulls are enjoying.

“We know we can’t shut the site down, we don’t want it closed, we want it to be managed better and odours controlled.

“I’m not a person that’s going to stand back and see people suffering like this.”

The Environment Agency have installed new air monitoring equipment due to the high volume of complaints they’ve had since Christmas.

The regulator said they have received 8 complaints from 08.30 am to 10 pm on Sunday 24 February alone.

An air monitoring system was previously installed for six months from 6 July 2017 – 14 Feb 2018 comparing results against World Health Organisation guidelines (WHO).

Results were below the guideline level for risk to health with it exceeding odour annoyance less than 1% of the time.

But despite these results, residents say the landfill is having an impact on their health.

Martyn Hilditch of Church Lane, Kutton said: “This issue is playing havoc with my wife’s health, she has severe asthma and in the last several months has had at least 4 severe asthma attacks, where they were not regular before.”

According to Environment Agency and Red Industries, the company who runs the landfill site say the landfill only has a license for non-hazardous wastes such as recycling waste, broken brick, concrete, tiles, sands, soils and clays.

Stephen Thomason from the Environment Agency said: “We’re aware of odour issues in the Silverdale area.

“Walleys Quarry has a permit to take non-hazardous industrial and commercial waste which can produce odours.

“There are a number of actions we expect waste sites to take to reduce any odour.

“We have however, seen an increase in the number of odour complaints, so we’ve installed specialist odour monitoring equipment to monitor air emissions in the area.

“We’re also regularly visiting the site to monitor site processes and practices.

“We’ll take appropriate action on any issues we find.”

A spokesperson for Red Industries said: “We can confirm that we cooperate fully with the relevant regulators for our facility and, along with them, conduct a great number of monitoring and reporting exercises, including carrying out regular odour checks in the area. 

 “We take the concerns of residents seriously and will continue to work closely with the Environment Agency.”

For more information and to view the Environment Agency report go to – http://www.redindustries.co.uk/waste-services/landfill-disposal/

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