Notoriously ‘eggy’ landfill’s permit partially suspended after 800 complaints

A landfill in Glasgow that has seeped ‘offensive’ odours for years has had its permit partially suspended after hundreds of complaints flooded in to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) over the course of a month.

The site, Patersons of Greenoakhill Limited's Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC), at Broomhouse, cannot accept any more non-hazardous waste for landfill on to the site until it assesses and implements “all necessary measures” to reduce the impact of odours beyond its site boundary, SEPA said. The rest of the operations at the site are unaffected, according to the regulator. 

A list of descriptions of smells experienced near the landfill are included on the SEPA website, and include: “like a bin”, “eggy”, “faecal matter” and “burnt sewage”.

The partial suspension comes after SEPA has used a range of enforcement powers to try and tackle odour from the site. The company has previously been served with a variable monetary penalty of £6,200, in December 2022, by SEPA for a breach of its environmental permit that resulted in an offensive odour affecting local communities for eight days in June 2021 and resulting in 138 complaints.  

Since then, SEPA has seen an “increase in reports of odours” from the landfill, separate to a number of actions carried out in December relating to landfill gas infrastructure with the expectation that this would alleviate the odour issues.

There were 800 complaints lodged by locals between Christmas Eve and early January, according to the regulator. These complaints were substantiated by SEPA.

The watchdog found that a landfill area, separate to the area this penalty was given to, was now producing landfill gas and required the installation of landfill gas collection wells. According to SEPA, the operator is undertaking this work as a priority and SEPA is meeting with the operator on a weekly basis to monitor progress.

Chris Dailly, head of environmental performance at SEPA, said: “We have been working with the operator to address issues and secure compliance. We have also heard directly the impact on the local community and have now taken this enforcement measure.

“Local residents are unlikely to notice an immediate reduction in odour impact. This is because a range of actions are likely to be required to be taken by the operator to ensure that ongoing odour management is effective. We will continue to engage with the operator.”

This site has been on SEPA’s radar at least since November 2020 when a Final Warning Letter was served by the regulator requiring the operator to install 30,000 square metres of capping and gas infrastructure works to control the odour at a high point of the site, which was completed by March 2021.

In July 2021, officers served an enforcement notice on Patersons for non-compliance with the odour condition of the site.  It required Patersons to complete waste deposits in an area of the site close to Hamilton Road and carry out capping and gas infrastructure works before 30 September 2021. It also required the operator to provide an updated Odour Management Plan by 31 August 2021.