Smelly landfill opts to voluntarily stop receiving waste temporarily

A landfill site beset by odour problems, which has come under intense scrutiny in recent days, has voluntarily decided to temporarily curtail its waste operations.

The operators of Walley’s Quarry in Newcastle, Red Industries, said it had taken the decision to voluntarily curtail landfill operations at the quarry with effect from 13 March. 

Red Industries said this would enable it to accelerate the programme of extensive capping work planned for the facility, “along with other infrastructural developments”.

The quarry, which is unusually close to housing, has planning permission to receive waste until 2026.

Red Industries said soil, clays, filter cakes and engineering materials will continue to be brought to site to support the ongoing works and that it would continue to extract gas and manage site rain water.

This week the Environment Agency (EA) said in a statement that Newcastle Borough Council had received thousands of odour complaints during the last weekend in February.

It also asked Red Industries to take action to remove water which had collected in the landfill, “without delay”. The regulator classed the collection of water as a minor permit breach.

The following day Aaron Bell, MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons yesterday, in a bid to set limits for odorous emissions from landfill sites.

Nigel Bowen, the chief executive of Red Industries, said: "The voluntary curtailment of the majority of waste disposal activities is in response to community concerns and we will assess the impact of the changes made. We continue to work with the EA and relevant regulators throughout this process.”

This article was updated on 12 March to clarify that Red Industries has temporarily stopped receiving waste and has not closed the site

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