The Environment Agency launched an investigation into illegal waste activities at a Staffordshire landfill that has been causing noxious fumes to residents for many months.
People living next to Walleys Quarry landfill in Silverdale, Newcastle-under-Lyme, are facing ongoing misery from strong smells caused by high levels of hydrogen sulphide on the site.
After receiving additional information in October, EA announced that it had opened a formal investigation into Red Industries’ landfill operators. The company denies any violation of regulations.
Campaigners celebrated the news as a Christmas gift and a significant milestone in their fight to improve air quality. However, many felt that an investigation was long overdue.
All we want is truth. We won’t let the EA put us under any pressure yet, because we need to see the results. We won’t accept platitudes, Dr Mick Salt, a local resident radiation physicist, stated.
Aaron Bell, Newcastle-under-Lyme MP, said: I welcome this formal inquiry and I would like thank all of the sources that came forward over the last year.
This is only one step. Legal reasons do not allow for the prejudgment or prejudice of this investigation. But I am certain that the community will be happy with this development.
Campaigners suffered a setback last week after the EA won an appeal in a high court case that found that the regulator was not doing enough to reduce landfill emissions, which were reducing the life expectancy for Mathew Richards, a five-year-old.
Rebecca Currie, Mathews’ mother, expressed her heartbreak at the decision and promised to appeal to the supreme Court. It felt like we’d lost the fight all over again. But my legal team won’t let it go, she said. The news of the EAs investigation put a smile on mine, and it has given us a huge boost in our fight.
Currie, who lives half an mile from the landfill said that the fumes were still having a significant effect. We ring up [the EA]Although we complain about it, it doesn’t seem to be helping us. Mathew’s coughing is so bad that he chokes, she said.
The EA spokesperson said that while it appreciated the court’s decision, it would not change our determination to address the problems at Walleys Quarry. They stated that the EA had intervened and there has been a clear decline in hydrogen sulphide levels at our air quality monitor stations in recent months.
Walleys Quarry Ltd, an affiliated company of Red Industries, stated that Walleys Quarry Ltd had never received or disposed hazardous waste in violation of any regulations. Any claims that it has ever done this are false and baseless.
There is no basis for this investigation, nor the unprofessional manner it was publicized by the EA as a regulator. The company will continue to cooperate with the EA investigation, so that the truth can be established and made public as soon as possible.