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Latest update: 1 November 2019
In March this year we refused an application to transfer the permit to another operator – Midwest Solutions Ltd. This was because we felt the applicant could not demonstrate that they could comply with the permit. When we refuse a permit application the applicant has six months to launch an appeal. We have recently received notice that the applicant has formally appealed our refusal decision. We will now prepare an appeal statement for the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate will then adjudicate on this matter. This may take a few months and we will publish their decision when known.
Works continue to complete the engineering work on cell 7. The majority of the capping work is now complete, with a small area remaining at the cell’s northern boundary. The capping work has progressed slower than expected due to the inclement weather. It is difficult to install the welded membranes on a saturated surface. This capping work is expected to be completed over the next month.
Twenty four new gas extraction wells have now been drilled and are in the process of being connected into the gas system. This work is expected to be completed over the next week. This should reduce any odours coming from the site.
The last cell on site (cell 8) is now being filled. To assist with the management of odours from the tipping of waste an additional odour suppression system has been installed here. We will continue to monitor the site and the associated engineering works closely and will provide any further updates as required.
28 August 2019
We have recently been receiving an increased number of odour complaints coming from the Blaydon Quarry landfill site. We have investigated these complaints and would like to provide an update.
Operations on the site over the summer have focused on completion of the current active cell 7. This is the closest cell on the site to Stargate. This week waste tipping in this cell has now been completed. The cell is in the progress of being capped, beginning at the Winlaton/Barlow end and working down towards the Lead Road end. The section of the cell that has just been filled with waste is now being covered with a thick layer of soil in preparation for a final cap. The capping work involves the installation of a welded geomembrane which acts to seal in the waste (and any odour) and prevent water ingress. We would estimate these works will take a further 3-6 weeks to complete. Their progress does depend on the weather.
As areas of the landfill site are capped, final permanent gas extraction wells are also installed. On 2 September a drilling rig will arrive on site to complete the installation of the gas wells within cell 7. These will then be connected up to the gas extraction system and used to produce electricity. Drilling gas wells into waste may cause some momentary localised odour. These works combined will act to prevent fugitive emissions from cell 7 and reduce any associated odours.
As part of our investigations, we have also carried out a survey of gas emissions across the active sections of the site (cell 7) using machines which measure both methane and hydrogen sulphide. Methane is the main constituent of landfill gas but is odourless. Hydrogen Sulphide appears within landfill gas in much smaller quantities but contains a notable ‘rotten egg’ odour. Very low levels of both gases were recorded across the cell. We have noted odours associated with the tipping, deposit and compaction of waste on the site. In recognition of this the site operator is installing some additional odour suppression equipment at the tipping area. With cell 7 complete, waste input is now taking place in cell 8. Cell 8 is the final cell on the site. We will continue to monitor the site and the associated engineering works closely and will provide any further updates as required.
24 June 2019
The Environment Agency has received several reports over the weekend regarding strong odours from Blaydon landfill. We have investigated these and the landfill operator has informed us that trespassers on quad bikes had entered the site and damaged gas pipework causing gas odours to escape. The pipework was fixed on Saturday afternoon and we have received no further complaints since then. We are working with the operator to ensure the point of entry is identified and repaired to make the site secure.
26 March 2019
We have recently received concerns from residents regarding the height of the landfill at Blaydon Quarry. As a result we checked the heights using our equipment which measures the ground level and the grid co-ordinates. We recorded measurements at several points across the highest section of the site. The highest section is in the middle of the site within cell 7. Within our permit there is an agreed level which the waste should be tipped to. This is called the pre-settlement level. The pre-settlement level is calculated based on the agreed final restoration levels in the site’s planning permission. The pre-settlement is higher than the final restoration level as the waste will settle over time. The highest pre-settlement level at Blaydon is 123m AOD (above ordnance datum or sea level).
The highest measurement was 127.5m AOD. This was recorded on top of a soil bund, used to position litter netting. This is a temporary feature and will be removed upon completion of tipping in this area. The measurement of 124.3m AOD was recorded on a leachate well, which protrudes from the waste. This is above ground level. The measurement of 123.5m AOD was the waste level. We have instructed the operator to remove 0.5 metres of waste in this area to comply with the pre-settlement level.
We will check these areas again before any final capping layers are applied to ensure they are within the agreed level.
In September last year we received a further application to transfer the permit at Blaydon Quarry from Octagon Green Solutions limited to Midwest Solutions limited.
This application has been carefully assessed by our National Permitting Service and we have decided that the application be refused. This is because we did not have confidence that permit compliance could be achieved by the proposed new operator.
In view of the transfer refusal, Octagon Green Solutions Ltd remains the legal operator of the landfill site and are responsible for permit compliance.
26 February 2019
We have today withdrawn the suspension notice in effect at Blaydon Quarry landfill. This is because the operator have complied with the actions detailed in the notice. As instructed, they have re-profiled the waste deposited in the current tipping area which was too steep. They have also covered this area of waste appropriately. We will continue to monitor the site closely and are investigating this matter formally.
19 February 2019
We have served a permit suspension notice today on the operator of the landfill site at Blaydon Quarry. This notice stops waste being allowed on site, with the exception of soil, until the actions stipulated in the notice are complete. This decision has been taken following a recent investigation into odour coming from the site. We found large areas of waste had been left uncovered and the waste had been deposited in a manner making it difficult to cover. This uncovered waste was causing the odour issues. The notice requires the operator to re-profile the waste and to apply appropriate levels of cover. This work must be completed within two weeks, although it may be completed sooner.
We will be visiting the site to monitor the progress of this work. We are also continuing to investigate the matter formally.
18 February 2019
We have been receiving an increased number of reports concerning odour from the Blaydon Quarry landfill site. Our staff have been investigating this in the surrounding area and on the site.
We have identified issues regarding the covering of waste deposited there.
We are now assessing permit compliance in detail and will update this page as soon as we are able to confirm our course of action.
12 October 2018
We have received a further application to transfer the Environmental Permit to a new operator. We will assess this application to determine if the permit can be suitably transferred.
We will update this webpage with the outcome of our decision.
The Enforcement Notice referenced in our previous webpage update has been complied with as the capping works and gas extraction works described were completed to the correct standard and on time.
We continue to monitor the site in accordance with the permit and, whilst the transfer application is assessed, Octagon Green Solutions Ltd remain the site operator.
Blaydon Quarry Landfill Permit Transfer Application, March 2018
In November 2017 we received an application to transfer the environmental permit at Blaydon Quarry to a potential new operator.
This application has been assessed in detail by our national permitting service with input from staff locally. This assessment has now been completed and we have decided that the application be refused. This is because we did not have confidence that permit compliance could be achieved.
Odour, March 2018
We have also responded to recent public reports concerning odours coming from the site. Our investigations have found odours in a section of the current active cell. As a result we have issued an enforcement notice requiring remedial work be carried out in this area.
This work will include the installation of an engineered sealing layer and gas extraction pipework. The work has already started and will take up to six weeks to finish. We will inspect the work on completion to ensure they have been successful.
About the landfill
Blaydon Quarry landfill, Newcastle upon Tyne, is operated by Octagon Green Solutions Ltd (Octagon).
Gateshead Council is responsible for granting planning permission. The planning application and accompanying environmental statement are available at Gateshead Council.
Regular site inspections and audits are carried out by the Environment Agency to make sure the permit is complied with.
You can view hard copies of the planning application and accompanying environmental statement at Gateshead Civic Centre and Winlaton and Blaydon libraries.