This document explains the work being done to regulate the Red Industries RM Limited landfill site (also known as Walleys Quarry) in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.
The Environment Agency regulates two environmental permits held by Red Industries to operate a waste facility at Walleys Quarry. A permit includes conditions about how the facility must operate and covers things like waste that can be accepted, how it’s handled, emissions from the site and necessary monitoring. As a regulator, we make regular site visits.
Walleys Quarry has permits to take non-hazardous industrial and commercial waste. No landfill will ever be completely odour free, however, the level and type of odour arising from such operations should not be causing offence.
Red Industries website
Following an increase of odour complaints from the local community, we installed specialist air quality monitoring equipment to monitor air emissions in the area. This equipment was installed on the 15 January 2019 until the 25 June 2019 near the northern boundary of Walley’s Quarry Landfill site, on the grounds of Garner’s Garden Centre.
- The main findings were:
- Particulate, nitrogen dioxide and benzene concentrations met expected Air Quality Strategy objectives
- Toluene, ethylbenzene and m&p-xylenes were found to be within their respective Environmental Assessment Levels
- Toluene levels were found to be within the specified World Health Organisation (WHO) health and odour limits
- During the first 28 days of monitoring, hydrogen sulphide was within WHO health limits, but exceeded odour limits for 6% of the time
- After moving the monitoring equipment, for the remaining 118 days, hydrogen sulphide remained within WHO health limits, but exceeded odour limits for 1% of the time
A summary and the full report on this monitoring are available above.
No further ambient air monitoring is planned, but we continue to visit the site to monitor site processes and practices.
Reporting odour concerns
To report an environmental incident or concern call the Environment Agency’s 24 hour incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
If residents have health concerns they should contact their local GP, who can seek advice from Public Health England.
No landfill will ever be completely odour free. However, the level and type of odour arising from such operations should not be causing offence. The permit conditions require an Environment Agency officer to make a judgement about whether an odour is offensive and we can only take enforcement action where it is deemed offensive and the operator is not using all appropriate measures.
Various officers carry out periodic odour checks. The operator is informed about all complaints (we don’t release personal data so they cannot identify complainants) and in accordance with their Odour Management Plan investigate and advise of any changes to their operations.
Where we substantiate an odour at a level likely to cause offence we score this according to our Compliance Classification Scheme guidance.
Repeated substantiated odour breaches may result in escalation particularly when no improvement plan is proposed by the operator. In this situation we are obliged to consider an enforcement response in accordance with our published Enforcement and Sanctions guidance which you can find on our website.
- The site has a number of measures in place to control odour:
- keeping the tipping area as small as possible
- covering waste as soon as possible
- installing temporary capping over the waste to prevent the release of odours
- ensure their landfill gas management is operating effectively and installed as soon as possible
Previous odour monitoring
We carried out an air monitoring study between the 6 July 2017 and 14 February 2018. The aim of this study was to assess the air quality at the nearest residential properties to the site. This showed that the monitoring location was subject to concentrations that would meet their respective air quality standard objectives.
Monitoring also indicated the landfill site was not the most significant source of Hydrogen Sulphide.
Walleys liaison forum
This is a group who meet regularly to discuss issues raised by the local community.
Membership: Staffordshire County Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, parish councils, Red Industries, Environment Agency and residents’ representatives. A local councillor chairs the forum.