Enforcement action led to a formal caution and a legal agreement resulting in the closure of a landfill site in Nottinghamshire, the Environment Agency announced today (27 March).
In June 2013 the Environment Agency found that FCC Recycling (UK) Limited (also trading as FCC Environment), who operated the Dorket Head Landfill site in Arnold Nottinghamshire, had failed to act in accordance with its landfill gas management plan, when methane was detected at one of its monitoring boreholes.
Following the investigation, the Environment Agency worked with FCC Recycling (UK) Limited to bring forward the closure of the site. The Environment Agency varied the permit to prevent further waste being accepted and set a timescale for the operator to permanently cap the site. The operator accepted a formal caution for its failure to act in accordance with its landfill gas management plan and accepted warning letters for other associated breaches of its environmental permit, including a failure to adequately cover waste in February and March 2014. FCC Recycling (UK) Limited also met Environment Agency’s investigation and legal costs. The site closed its doors in September 2014.
The Environment Agency balanced the need to take enforcement action against the operator for its failures with the impact that early site closure would have on the local community. The Environment Agency concluded that the proposal to close the site with agreed steps to ensure capping works are concluded by November 2016 was the best environmental outcome in this case. The Environment Agency is pleased that capping works are already underway.
Although the site has ceased to accept waste, FCC Recycling (UK) Limited will still be responsible for managing the site’s environmental impact. Environment Agency engineers will ensure that the works are undertaken to the highest standard and will continue to regulate the site and will conduct regular inspections to ensure that the environmental impacts of the site are minimised.
It is natural for gas to be produced from landfill sites and is one of the main reasons that they are regulated. The Environment Agency insists that the monitoring boreholes which surround the site are closely checked sometimes on an hourly basis and that the site is adequately ‘capped’ and managed to minimise odours and prevent gas escaping the site.