Environment Agency issues suspension notice to Walleys Quarry



The Environment Agency has issued Walleys Quarry with a suspension notice that requires the landfill site to stop accepting and disposing of all types of waste apart from inert waste.

Walleys Quarry in Newcastle-under-Lyme has been subject to numerous complaints over foul-smelling odours. A petition started by the local MP Aaron Bell calling on the Environment Agency to close the site has over 7,800 signatures.

On 1 March, the Environment Agency issued a Regulation 37 Suspension Notice to Walleys Quarry Ltd, which requires the company to take immediate action to remove the risk of serious pollution from fugitive emissions of landfill gas to the air causing significant and widespread offence to human senses due to odour.

Walleys Quarry
Walleys Quarry in Newcastle-under-Lyme has been subject to numerous complaints over foul-smelling odours.

The Suspension Notice requires Walleys Quarry to immediately stop the acceptance and disposal of waste, except for inert wastes which do not contribute to the odour. The Notice also requires the landfill site to install additional gas extraction infrastructure in a key part of the operational area of the site by 17 March 2024 to connect it so that it extracts gas by 24 March 2024.

Walleys Quarry must also install additional temporary capping, using either compacted clay or geomembrane, in two other operational areas by 24 March 2024. The Environment Agency said that areas where action is required by the Suspension Notice do not currently have the infrastructure in place to contain and capture landfill gas to be destroyed.

In a statement, the Environment Agency said: “We recognise there have been recent unacceptable increases in hydrogen sulphide emissions around Walleys Quarry and in odour reports from local residents. We have every sympathy with the local community and remain committed to maintaining long-term improvements in emissions from the site.

“We acknowledge the calls for the Environment Agency to close the site. However, as we have previously explained, we will only issue a Closure Notice as a last resort, having exhausted all other enforcement and regulatory options.

“The purpose of this work is to reduce as quickly as possible fugitive emissions of landfill gas from these areas of the site and the impact experienced by the community. This is our priority and is best achieved in the short-term by using a Suspension Notice.”

The Environment Agency said it recognises that some will be disappointed it has stopped short of closing the site and will continue to assess the situation while keeping all regulatory options under review.

This suspension notice is unnecessary and entirely inappropriate.

A Walleys Quarry statement said: “This suspension notice is unnecessary and entirely inappropriate. It is self-serving in terms of seeking to justify the extreme scrutiny under which the agency has placed Walleys Quarry over the past years in response to political pressure placed on it.

“As the Environment Agency is fully aware, there is already extensive work underway involving gas infrastructure and capping at the site. This work was already in progress prior to the Environment Agency issuing the notice and was instigated and continues to be fully funded by Walleys Quarry Ltd who had developed the design and commenced works prior to the service of the notice.

“Walleys Quarry will be working to the withdrawal of this pointless notice in the minimum timeframe possible as it continues as a responsible business to take all necessary safe and sustainable steps to ensure the eventual completion of the site.”

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