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Residents urged to continue reporting symptoms from odour problems

Headaches, nausea and sleeplessness are the main problems recorded in the first week of a health survey detailing problems caused by terrible odours in Newcastle.

Hundreds of submissions have been made already to Staffordshire County Council’s daily symptom tracker.

And residents are urged to carry on making daily reports, so that the flow of information helps build a full picture of the problem.

Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “This situation with Walleys Quarry landfill is not getting any better and our communities are still suffering both day and night.

“We really need to gather as much evidence as we can from residents to build an accurate picture of what is happening and when. I urge everyone who is being affected to please complete the survey. Let us know how this is affecting you and at what times. We can then match that lived experience to the data to show the cause and effect of the gases from the landfill.”

Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “We’ve had a strong early response from people with approaching a thousand submissions so far. Their evidence is upsetting but, I’m afraid, unsurprising and we would like residents to carry on reporting their experiences every day so we can build up a detailed analysis about the numbers affected and the sort of problems they are experiencing at specific times – which we can then compare to air monitoring data. The more people who take part, the better the quality of the analysis.”

The daily questionnaire is divided into six-hour periods and residents are asked to give their post code, report the strength of the smell and how it is affecting them – either physically, through disrupted sleep, or in other ways.

People can find the survey here .

The feedback so far includes:

  • 93 per cent of responses are from people living within three miles of Walleys Quarry;
  • 82 per cent say the odour is ‘strong’, ‘very strong’, or ‘extremely strong’ at some point in the day, with the peak between noon and 6pm;
  • the most frequently symptoms are, regardless of the time of day, headaches (69 per cent), disturbed sleep (64 per cent) and experiencing nausea (55 per cent).

As well as this project, which will continue until the problem is resolved, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is taking odours readings round-the-clock from 20 specific homes in the area, and both councils have part-funded the installation of additional air quality monitors managed by the Environment Agency.

A spokesperson for the Health Protection Team at Public Health England (PHE) in the West Midlands, said: “Public Health England appreciates the ongoing situation concerning strong odours in areas around Walleys Quarry Landfill must be very distressing for residents.

“We are therefore working with Staffordshire County Council to analyse the data being gathered from their online surveillance tool, to gather evidence of the impacts on physical and mental health.

“We urge as many people as possible to sign up and record information as often as appropriate, so that we have a comprehensive picture. While PHE is not a regulatory body, we can help build an evidence base to inform decisions made by the regulators.”

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