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New enforcement notice issued to owners of landfill site dubbed ‘a stink bomb on steroids’

20 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Engineering work being carried out at Withyhedge Landfill

Owners of a landfill site in Pembrokeshire dubbed “a stink bomb on steroids” have been told to take “urgent steps” to address ongoing odour and landfill gas emission.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has taken further enforcement action at Withyhedge Landfill, setting out measures that must be put in place by its operators to address issues at the site.

NRW has issued site operators Resources Management UK Ltd (RML) with a further Regulation 36 Enforcement Notice which requires the operator to deliver a series of actions by specified deadlines – the first of which is to be achieved by 21 April 2024.

Actions include implementing measures relating to gas management infrastructure, further capping of areas of the site, as well as improving interim cover arrangements as the work progresses.

Each of the steps outlined in the Notice have to be completed by 14 May, although the notice stipulates that the majority of the works will be required to be completed before 8 May.

The measures are intended to address the odour issues experienced by communities surrounding the site.

Waste cell

Previously NRW had issued a Section 36 Notice in February to prepare and cap a waste cell and install gas infrastructure to contain and collect landfill gases.

Although the environmental watchdog says these actions appear to have been completed, other possible areas on site where odour may be coming from have been identified by the site operator.

RML submitted their plans on how to resolve these issues last week, with the proposed solutions  included in the new S36 notice issued this week.

If the new notice is not complied with, NRW could issue a Section 37 suspension notice, should this be appropriate.

Huwel Manley, Head of South West Operations, NRW, said: “NRW is taking additional enforcement action to ensure RML Ltd. takes the urgent action they have identified that is needed to get the odour issues at Withyhedge Landfill under control.

“We fully understand the growing discontent from the affected communities, and we feel that it is unacceptable for residents and visitors to the area to continue to be affected by these odour and landfill gas emissions.

“We want to reassure everyone that we are committed to ensuring RML Ltd. deliver the actions they have identified, and that they work quickly to bring this issue to a resolution.

“While the pressing work required by the operator progresses over the coming days and weeks, the site remains under investigation and we will continue our regulatory presence.

“Nothing is off the table. If the series of actions required in this Notice are not complied with, we will have no hesitation to take further enforcement action, considering every option available to us under the regulations, including suspending the environmental permit if appropriate.”

Further action

Will Bramble, Pembrokeshire County Council Chief Executive, added: “We are extremely disappointed that RML, the company managing the Withyhedge landfill site, has not delivered the necessary action to stop the completely unacceptable odour emissions.

“We fully support the additional enforcement action being taken by NRW and continue to work closely with them to do all in our power to correct the situation.

“We also support the intent of NRW to take further action should it fail to meet the deadline set of 14 May 2024 – including considering taking action to suspend the permit.

“Geotechnology is carrying out monitoring under the direction of the air quality cell and liaising directly with residents affected.

“We will ensure the data is made available to the public at the earliest opportunity.”

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