‘Explain emissions’ call for landfill operator

Published: 5 June 2023

An image of the entrance to Walleys Quarry.
The hearings will ask what are the next steps needed to resolve the continuing issues.

Walleys Quarry Ltd is being asked to explain the cause of emissions provoking recent complaints from residents.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council Leader Simon Tagg said that officers continue to challenge the landfill operators to explain the circumstances surrounding any noticeable odours.

Under the terms of the Abatement Notice which came into place this year, the company agreed it must control odour problems by ‘the best practical means’ and to publicise information about what’s happening there.

Cllr Tagg said:

The site is regulated by the Environment Agency, which has the power to suspend, restrict, issue closure notices and instruct work required. However, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has worked tirelessly, within the limits of its legal powers via an Abatement Notice, to improve and resolve this problem.

 

Newcastle’s officers have engaged Walleys Quarry Ltd in regular, substantial discussions about consistent, effective site management.  In the absence of a simple solution to the odour issues we believe that in the medium term this approach will produce the best, sustainable result for residents.

 

Our officers are regularly visiting communities at all hours of day and night to monitor the situation, collate complaints and are challenging the operator to explain any incidents and to take corrective action.

 

However, in recent weeks there has been a clear increase in emissions matched, quite understandably, by a rise in the number of complaints.

 

The Council is working on behalf of the residents who have suffered as a result of these odours, holding WQL to account and challenging them to really get a sustained grip on the issue, with the prospect of legal action if the problem isn’t resolved.”

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

In August 2021, the Borough Council served an Abatement Notice against Walleys Quarry Ltd, requiring it to control the smell nuisance caused by landfill operations.

The landfill operators contested the Notice, but dropped the appeal following mediation, putting the Abatement Notice in place and allowing the company five months to resolve the problem. That five-month period expired on 5 March, 2023.

Accepting that the landfill had been a source of ‘community complaint’, the company agreed it must control odour problems by ‘the best practical means’ and to publicise information about what’s happening there.

The Council can now pursue a prosecution against Walleys Quarry Ltd if it considers the operator has failed to follow best practice and that the failure has affected the community.

Permission to bring a prosecution must be granted by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs because the site is regulated by the Environment Agency.