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Public bodies commit to stop landfill odour

05 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Landfill. Image: United Nations Photo

Three public bodies will ensure capping of a waste cell causing significant odour issues at a landfill site happens as swiftly and safely as possible.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Public Health Wales and Pembrokeshire County Council have been in regular contact with regard to significant odour issues on the site of Withyhedge Landfill since the start of the year.

Following a public meeting held on Monday, 26 February, they are continuing to work together to achieve progress in resolving the issues affecting the communities surrounding the landfill.


Erin Smyth-Evans, Industry Regulation Team Leader for South West, NRW, said: “NRW is continuing its on-site inspections to ensure the site operator is moving forward effectively in its work to cap the cell where we have identified the most probable source of the odour.

“Work onsite is progressing daily and we anticipate noticeable reductions in landfill gas emissions and odours in the coming weeks.

“NRW is also continuing its investigations into permit non-compliances which in part have led us to serve an enforcement notice on RML in recent weeks. This outlined the steps the company needs to take to come back into compliance, and complete the landfill engineering work to contain and collect landfill gas. Our investigatory enquiries will take time and at present, ensuring the capping works are complete is our top priority.”

Health concerns

The public bodies are working with the site operator to monitor air quality in response to increasing health concerns from the local community. Results are expected to start being received mid-March. Public Health Wales will then be able to provide further advice dependent on those results.

Dr Giri Shankar, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: “We recognise that local people are under strain and are very concerned about the impacts of odours around the Withyhedge landfill site.

“While Public Health Wales is not the lead agency for matters like this, we are working very closely with NRW to make sure the situation is improved quickly to reduce the impact on local people.  We have met with NRW and the local authority and are eager to see an urgent solution to this issue.  We have also recommended that the site is capped as soon as possible so that the odours are stopped.

“We have also called for monitoring at the site, as this will provide us with the important information that we need to help us conduct a full assessment of any potential health impacts on the local community.

“Our current advice to local residents is that odours and emissions from this site may be harmful to health, and that they should keep doors and windows closed when the smells are present and seek medical advice if necessary.  We hope this situation can be quickly improved.”


Cllr Rhys Sinnett, Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “We recognise the impact of odours on the local community coming from the Withyhedge site and we understand the level of concern this has caused.

“Since before Christmas our officers have been working closely with colleagues from lead organisation NRW to assess the incidence of odours from Withyhedge. Officers from our Planning and Public Protection teams have visited the site alongside NRW colleagues and engaged with the operators.

“I assure you a lot of work is continuing in the background and all public bodies have reconfirmed their commitment to ensuring a long term solution to the problems as soon as possible.

“As partners we have also committed to continue engaging with the local community and updating on the situation going forward.”

Members of the public are urged to continue reporting odour incidents to NRW.

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