Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, The Environment Agency, Staffordshire County Council and Public Health England are working together in relation to issues reported by residents and concerned residents.
Each of the four agencies has a particular role and these are discussed in further detail below.
If you have made a complaint about something which is not within the Borough Council’s remit, your complaint has been passed to the relevant partner agency.
What we can investigate and the law:
The Borough Council has a legal duty to investigate complaints of “statutory nuisances” as defined by section 79 Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. In respect of the complaints about the landfill these include:
- noise and vibration
Formal action under this legislation is only available where issues from the landfill are affecting “premises” be it at a home or a workplace and are causing an “actionable statutory nuisance in law”.
To be actionable by the Council, the evidence must show that there is a material interference with the reasonable use and enjoyment of premises.
The following criteria, based on legal decisions from the courts, are considered in this assessment:
- nature of the nuisance
- the time it occurs (what may be acceptable at a particular time of day may not be so at a more sensitive time)
- how often it occurs
- its duration
- how significantly it impacts on how a premises is reasonably used
- the locality in which the nuisance occurs – (what may be acceptable in an industrial area is not necessarily appropriate for a residential area)
- potential health effects
What legal action we may be able to take:
The investigations into complaints can take some time to carry out in order to be meaningful.
The Council is required to work with evidence obtained by officers and from people affected and evaluate this to determine if there is an actionable statutory nuisance in law.
Only where this is the considered to be the case can the council then serve an abatement notice on the person / organisation responsible to require that the nuisance is appropriately controlled. The wording and requirements of the notice and what the recipient is expected to and the timescales to achieve compliance would depend upon the circumstances of the case.
Where the Council believes that it is not in a position to take formal action, we will advise all interested parties.
Appeal against a legal notice and attending court as a witness.
The recipient of an abatement notice has a right of appeal in the courts on specified grounds. The time and dates taken to hear an appeal is set by the Courts.
Individuals who have supplied evidence may be required to produce witness statements and to attend court to help present the Council’s case.
It would ultimately be for the court to decide if on the balance of probabilities that a nuisance is being caused and if the grounds for appeal are established or if the notice should be quashed or varied.
What happens if a notice is not appealed or is upheld.
It is hoped that the notice would be complied with in its entirety and that this would resolve the issues to which it relates.
Should either the abatement notice be upheld or not appealed and once any time period for compliance has elapsed, non-compliance becomes an enforcement matter.
A further investigation would need to be undertaken to obtain evidence and again this may some time.
If there is evidence to show that there is a criminal breach, the Council must receive the formal consent from the Secretary of State to undertake a prosecution or to enforce the notice requirements as the landfill operates under an Environmental Permit issued by the Environment Agency.
Taking you own legal action under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990/Private action
Persons affected by a statutory nuisance can take action under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
A general guide to the procedure can be found here: https://bit.ly/2C4NcCv
The Council is unable to offer advice on the merits of a case or alternative legal options. You should take you own independent legal advice.
Your Council and working with our partners
Where people are being affected in the community, for example when in the car or walking the dog, the Council is unable to take any legal action.
However your complaint and any evidence would be referred to our relevant partners. Please see below for details of their roles.
Staffordshire County Council
Staffordshire County Council are responsible for the following:
- Removing material deposited on the highway
- Determining planning applications for the landfill and for waste activities
- Monitoring compliance with planning conditions and taking enforcement action where appropriate
If you have made a complaint to the Borough Council about any of these matters, your complaint details have been passed on to the County Council.
In the meantime you might find the following useful:
- The planning permission restricts the hours of operation for most activities to 07:00 to 19:00 Mondays to Fridays, 07:00 to 13:00 Saturdays and no operations on Sundays, Bank and Public Holidays (Condition 10).
- The planning permission allows the importation of inert waste, non-hazardous industrial and commercial wastes and stable non-reactive hazardous wastes (Condition 8). Further restrictions and more specific waste types would be specified by the EA permit.
- The planning permission allows up to 880 HGV movements per full working week (440 in and 440 out).
- HGVs are permitted to access the A34 via any of three routes (Church Lane/Lower Milehouse Lane, Silverdale Road/Knutton Lane, or Cemetery Road/Keele Road) or they can use the A525 Keele Road if travelling to/from the west of the site. These are also available on our website here approved under the permission reference IDO/N/1 216 MW D4.
- The planning permission allows the landfilling operations to continue until 2042 (inert waste only after 31 December 2026).
Advice has been sought from Public Health England in relation to any reported health concerns and advice to GPs and concerned individuals. Their advice will appear here in due course.
The Environment Agency
The Environment Agency (EA) regulates the environmental permits held by Red Industries RM Limited (“the operator”) for Walley’s Quarry landfill site.
There are two environmental permits in force - the details of these are provided below (see permits). Within the permits there are conditions concerning the operations that the sites can carry out, including waste types and handling, emissions and monitoring. The EA regulation of the site includes visits, both announced and unannounced.
Representatives from the EA attend the ‘Walley’s Liaison Group’ meeting to provide summaries of the regulation and any complaints received.
Contact details for the EA:
Write to: West Midlands Customers and Engagement Team,
Environment Agency, Riversmeet House, Northway lane,Tewkesbury GL208JG
Telephone: 03708 506 506
e-mail: Enquiries West Midlands Environment Agency.
Concerns with odours outside of the site boundary, pests or any other matters relating to the site can be reported to the EA incident hotline: 0800 80 70 60
Walley’s Liaison Forum
The liaison forum meets quarterly and is attended on a voluntary basis with representatives from the county council, borough council, parish councils, operator, Environment Agency and residents representatives. A local councillor chairs the forum.
The forum discusses key concerns raised by the community such as odour, dust, noise, traffic and the potential health impacts on the local community. The site operator reports on their site operations. The Environment Agency reports on regulation and any complaints received.
Last updated 6 March 2019