Health secretary intervenes over ‘offensive’ landfill

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he has “grave concern” over the “extremely inadequate” management of a landfill site in North Staffordshire, which has raised fears for the health of thousands of residents nearby.

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Granthshala The Walleyes Quarry in Newcastle-under-Lyme has previously reported concerns for the health of people living near the landfill, after hydrogen sulfide levels neared the limit set by the World Health Organization.

Now the health secretary wrote to the head of the environment agency, urged to use all his powers to deal with the problem.

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He added: “I sympathize with the distress and disruption to local communities, which are being adversely affected by the offensive odors emanating from the site, particularly the impact on the overall health and wellbeing of the community.”

Mr Hancock said he was concerned by data reported at the site during a 24-hour period in March, which found hydrogen sulfide levels reached 202 micrograms per cubic metre, compared to the WHO’s limit of 150.

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He added: “It is imperative that the Environment Agency (EA) exercise the full range of its regulatory and enforcement powers over both the company and engage effectively with the affected community to promptly address problems on-site with local authority partners.” Benefit the health and well-being of the community.”

He sought information about the agency’s action plan and timeline.

The company that manages the landfill, Red Industries, has suspended use of the site and has been given an April 30 deadline to work to reduce the odour. It was issued an enforcement notice by the agency in March for five violations of its license.

An update for residents seen by Granthshala The agency warned that covering parts of the landfill may not be enough to stop the smoke from affecting nearby homes.

Thousands of people around have complained of foul smell, some said Granthshala The smoke is affecting their ability to lead a normal life. Staff at the nearby Royal Stoke University Hospital have also complained to the local council.

Newcastle-under-Lyme MP Aaron Bell has questioned whether Adam Scherer, who became chairman of Red Industries in January this year and was previously its chief executive, was a fit and proper person to be in charge of a company that has dumped landfills. took over the site. in 2016. This was due to the existence of a spent conviction against Mr. Share.

The Tory MP questioned whether EA had applied a fair and reasonable person test to Mr. Share when the permit for the landfill was transferred to Red Industries in November 2016 and whether it was aware of his spent convictions.

He also sought to know whether Red Industries has disclosed this information.

The Environment Agency later confirmed that the spent defects are not relevant to fit and proper person testing, according to its guidance. Accordingly, there was no requirement for Red Industries to disclose such information.

on 22nd April, Granthshala Red Industries asked whether Mr. Share was a suitable and appropriate person to lead the company, but it did not directly respond to the question.

In a statement at the time it said it had “voluntarily cut operations to accelerate a comprehensive capping program that would seal a larger and wider area of ​​the site.”

It added that no hazardous waste was accepted into the landfill which would cease operations in 2026.

In a statement on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the company said in response to Mr Bell’s letter: “As a company we do not comment on private correspondence.”

The Environment Agency was contacted for comment.

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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