Criminal investigation launched into Walleys Quarry operator Red Industries

The Environment Agency has revealed it is investigating alleged illegal waste activities at sites operated by Red Industries Ltd, the firm behind the notoriously odorous Walleys Quarry landfill.

Walleys Quarry landfill is responsible for an enormous number of odour complaints. Photograph: Stop the Stink

A brief announcement was made by the regulator this afternoon. The precise nature of the claimed offences has not been made public. The regulator said that the formal launch of the investigation means that it will be unable to comment further on matters that could form part of legal proceedings.

The agency has urged anyone who holds relevant information to contact it confidentially on 0800 80 70 60.

Red Industries is the parent company of Walleys Quarry Ltd. High levels of hydrogen sulphide emanating from the landfill have been causing offensive odours around the site, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, for some time. Compounding the problem is its unusual proximity to housing, being about 1.5km away from the town centre. The problem is so bad that the local council imposed an abatement notice, an almost unprecedented move for a nationally-regulated installation.

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Writing on Twitter, local MP Aaron Bell welcomed the investigation and said he would “like to thank all the sources that have come forward over the past year.” Campaign group Stop the Stink simply said: “About time too.”

The announcement comes only days after the EA won an appeal against a ruling that its failure to control the landfill’s emissions had violated the human rights of a sick child.

In a statement to ENDS, Walleys Quarry Ltd said it, has never received or disposed of hazardous waste in contravention of any regulations. Any allegations that it has ever done so are baseless and wrong. There are no grounds whatsoever for this investigation or the unprofessional way it has been publicised by the EA as a supposedly responsible regulator. Despite this, the company will co-operate fully with the EA investigation so the true facts can be established and made known at the earliest opportunity.”