Multi-agency partners to hold Walleys Quarry community engagement session
Partner agencies are holding a community engagement event about the continued air pollution from Walleys Quarry Landfill site in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Remedial works carried out by Walleys Quarry Limited to date, which were ordered by the regulator the Environment Agency, appear to have made a small difference to emissions from the site. The Environment Agency has instructed Walleys Quarry Limited to carry out further urgent works including a series of complex and costly engineering solutions.
While the assessment remains that the long-term risk to health is likely to be small, public health partners are increasingly concerned that if hydrogen sulphide emissions continue at the levels seen up until May, the risk to long-term health from pollutants in the area cannot be ruled out. People continue to report symptoms daily, with negative impacts on both physical and mental wellbeing.
It had been hoped that conditions would have significantly improved, after regulator the Environment Agency ordered remedial work and a substantial further plan of action. As part of this work around 50 per cent of the site has been capped and gas capture increased by 500 cubic metres per hour, which is a 20 per cent increase overall.
Hundreds of people across Newcastle-under-Lyme, and parts of Stoke-on-Trent, have reported suffering symptoms such as headaches, feeling sick, and irritation to the eyes and nose; with some people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma being more badly affected.
While partners have been working collaboratively since March to tackle the impact of the operations at Walleys Quarry, due to concerns about how long this situation might continue to impact negatively on residents, a Strategic Coordinating Group (SCG) of Staffordshire Resilience Forum agencies has now been established. This is being chaired by Assistant Chief Constable Simon Tweats from Staffordshire Police.
A report from Public Health England (PHE) Midlands, on air quality monitoring in the vicinity of the quarry from March to May, concluded that hydrogen sulphide levels were above the World Health Organization (WHO) annoyance guideline for between 7 per cent - 36 per cent of the time. The full report can be found here .
The SCG will be holding a virtual community engagement event on Tuesday 6 July from 5.30pm to 7.00pm. Representatives from the Environment Agency, Public Health England, the NHS, and officers from Staffordshire County Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council will be taking part. An update on the situation, the impact on health, and progress on actions being taken to reduce the air pollution will be given, followed by an opportunity for people to ask questions. People can log on at: - https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8137051666089376524
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