Residents of North Staffordshire will be familiar with the name Walleys Quarry - but it made national headlines tonight thanks to an episode of the BBC Panorama. The scheme - Landfill: Britain's Toxic Secret - will feature Silverdale's Walleys Quarry, which has been the site of angry protests over the stench and emissions for years.
The Stop The Stink campaign, which clashed with operator Walleys Quarry Limited, sparked angry protests. The issue has also been raised in the House of Commons, with Newcastle MP Aaron Bell publicly supporting calls to curb landfill disposal.
read:Walleys Quarry Dump is on display at Panorama tonight
Where is Wallis Quarry?
Walleys Quarry is on Cemetery Road in Silverdale, less than 3.5 miles from the town center of Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire.
What's the story behind Walleys Quarry?
The first industrial use of the site was not as a landfill, but as intended, as a quarry. In 1924 it was purchased by TE Walley from John Nash Peake, who ran a tile and brickworks.
Walleys Quarry was used as a clay mining operation until it was taken over by Tarmac in 1997. Asphalt then applied for permission to use the site as a landfill.
Land development began in 2006 and the first waste was deposited on the site in 2007. By 2020, the height of the landfill will rise above the ground and be visible to passers-by.
Who owns Walleys Quarry now?
In 2016, the site came under the ownership of waste treatment company Red Industries Ltd. In April 2021, the company changed its name to Walleys Quarry Ltd following growing anger over the stench emanating from the dump.
The company is still in the lead today. A confirmation statement from Companies House listed Walleys Quarry Ltd's "nature of business" as "processing and disposal of non-hazardous waste".
In April this year, the company's headquarters moved from Berkeley Court in Newcastle to Burntwood Business Park, between Cannock and Lichfield.
Why are people protesting Walleys Quarry?
In 2021, Walleys Quarry received more than 65,000 complaints due to the unbearable stench of eggs emanating from the former quarry. Even people who lived miles away began reporting a bad smell.
September 2021 also takes a dire turn.supreme court rulingFive-year-old Mathew Richards' underlying medical conditions worsened as a result of hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) leaking from the site.
The dispute, described as a case of "David vs. Goliath", has drawn attention to perceptions that the Environment Agency is failing to properly police the site. but two months laterCourt of Appeal overturns original verdictThe Environment Agency had crossed the line in arguing that the High Court ordered it to deliver within a specific time frame.
Protests have been frequent throughout 2021 and 2022 outside the operator's entrance and former offices in Newcastle. Angry residents took to the streets under the banner of the Stop The Stink movement to express their anger and concerns about their health, and took to the streets last AprilA man stuck his handStanding in despair at the door.
Tensions reach a boiling point in February 2022 when Newcastle MPsAaron Bell uses his parliamentary privilegesConcerned about the amount of toxic waste dumped at the site, including rat poison. Walleys Quarry Ltd dismissed the allegations as baseless.
Last year, 26 Stop The Stink activiststhey got a court orderTake away their right to protest outside Walleys Quarry and Newcastle offices. clubDecided not to challenge the judgmentto avoid a costly lawsuit.
Newcastle Borough Council has issued an on-site abatement notice, with Walleys Quarry Ltd. left for five months to tackle the bad smell. This compliance period ends at midnight on March 5. If necessary, the Commission can now sue Walleys Quarry Ltd if it considers that the operator has not followed best practice and that failure has affected the community.
Because the site is regulated by the Environment Agency, permission from the Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is required to bring the case.
What does the Environment Agency think of Walleys Quarry?
The Environmental Protection Agency declined to comment, referring us to its website instead.
In their "What's New" section, they state: "We are aware of a marked increase in odor complaints towards the end of April. We are currently investigating whether this is weather related, or whether there has been an increase in emission sources during this period."
The website notes that their plan to reduce hydrogen sulfide emissions has three main goals: limit gas emissions from landfills; and capture as much of this gas as possible. Destroyed by combustion in gas utilization plants.
He continued: "The measures we have asked Walleys Quarry Landfill (WQLS) to implement have been successful, including shortening the dumping phase, effective capping, installation of new gas wells and infrastructure improvements: 1822m of additional gas production3January 2021 / hour to 2854 meters3/hr through March 2023. Reduce hydrogen sulfide levels in landfill gas from 6,400 ppm in June 2021 to 1,510 ppm by March 2023; reduce average monthly concentrations of hydrogen sulfide in the region to long-term health guidelines.
What does Newcastle-under-Lyme Council think of Walleys Quarry?
Simon Tagg, leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said this week: "Walleys Quarry landfill is controlled by the Environment Agency, but Newcastle-under-Lyme Council continues to work within its remit to tackle the stench and emissions. Questions represent our community.
"The council has engaged actively with WQL since being notified of the abatement and there is no doubt that the odor situation has improved over the past year. This is reflected in the complaints data and hydrogen sulphide levels we publicly report to the council. Cabinet every month.
“We have seen an increase in complaints in April. We remain vigilant and will of course use the legal powers provided by curtailment notices if legal restrictions are breached. We continue to investigate and gather information to help with legal cases and ask residents to continue reporting through our website to report bad odor incidents."
What did the protesters say about Walleys Quarry?
Stop the Stink campaigner Sara Owen told StokeOnTrentLive this week: "Walleys Quarry is the bane of our community. This fight is not just against red industries, but against the very government agencies that are supposed to protect us.
"There's a lot of experience and a lot of games behind Silverdale and the surrounding area, but when we keep repeating our defeats, we start to wonder what the point is.
"How many breaches does it take for the Environment Agency to wake up and realize that Walleys Quarry's license should be revoked? It's this waste that is causing all the terrible problems in the community.
"We are human beings; we deserve to be able to enjoy our homes and communities without being bombarded with toxic gases every day."
What does Aaron Bell from Newcastle-under-Lyme say about Walleys Quarry?
Aaron Bell told StokeOnTrentLive today: "While odor levels are still well below their 2021 peaks, the situation has clearly deteriorated in recent weeks after generally encouraging winter numbers. There is understandable fear that this problem is far from being solved. We have also seen a Category 2 breach by another operator, which shows that they are still not running a compliant site.
"Addressing the stench in Walleys Quarry remains my top concern and priority locally and I will not be satisfied until we see proper accountability and justice for the injustices suffered by the community.
"I therefore call on the Environment Agency to complete the regulatory and criminal investigation as soon as possible. I also call on the operator to apologize for the site's appalling mismanagement and explain how it intends to compensate the people of Newcastle for the loss suffered."
How do they feel about the current state of Walleys Quarry?
In a letter to Glynn Luzny of the Staffordshire Resilience Forum, chair of the Walleys Quarry Strategic Coordination Group (SCG), chief executive Nigel Bowen said this week: "Walleys Quarry's emissions, odors and Significant reduction in 12 months, we voluntarily invested over £2 million in emissions collection and destruction projects.Complaints reduced by 90%.
"The Environment Agency has confirmed that there were no confirmed odors during the latest and most recent inspections on 6 March, 14 March, 29 March, 28 April and 18 May 2023.
"Walleys Quarry Limited submitted an updated version of its 'Gas Shortage Management Plan' to EA four months ago, including the upgrade and development of our landfill gas infrastructure and processes, and is awaiting a substantive response from EA. With this In the meantime, as EA realizes that while we wait for a response with their consent, we've already started working on the plan to make sure the delay doesn't impede progress
"Since the beginning of 2022, EA has collected more than 200 reports at four sites around the quarry, and throughout 2022 and 2023, EA's data shows that levels remain below the 24-hour average set by the World Health Organization. the term".
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The Environment Agency (EA) was ordered by a High Court judge to enforce more reductions in hydrogen sulphide levels at Walleys Quarry, Staffordshire. But the Court of Appeal overturned the decision after the EA challenged it.What is the history of the Walleys Quarry? ›
We have owned and operated Walleys Quarry since 2016. The history of the quarry itself dates back to 1924, when it was originally a brick and tile works. The decades since then have seen it move through various ownerships and uses, including clay extraction and ultimately landfill.Is Walleys Quarry closing? ›
The company behind controversial landfill site Walleys Quarry is quitting its North Staffordshire HQ. The Red Industries offices - within Berkeley Court, on Borough Road, in Newcastle-under-Lyme - have been one of the focal points for Stop The Stink campaigners complaining about smells from the Silverdale site.How do I report Odour to Walleys Quarry? ›
The easiest and quickest way to make a report is via GOV.UK at: https://report-walleys-quarry-smell.service.gov.uk. If you do report odour to us via our incident hotline, please be courteous to our staff. They are working to deal with your reports as efficiently as possible.