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Updated health warning issued at stinking landfill site linked to Gething donor

20 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Withyhedge Landfill site.

Emily Price

An updated health warning has been issued for residents living close a stinking landfill site linked to the man who donated £200,000 to Vaughan Gething’s Welsh Labour leadership campaign.

Public Health Wales (PHW) gathered risk data during March and April 2024 to analyse levels of hydrogen sulphide in the air around the Withyhedge site near Haverfordwest.

The results showed that the noxious fumes emanating there are above the World Health Organisation (WHO) odour annoyance guidelines.

Exposure to odours at levels above the WHO guideline may cause people to suffer with headaches, nausea, dizziness, watery eyes, stuffy nose, irritated throat, cough or wheeze, sleep problems and stress.

PHW has advised residents to keep doors and windows closed when the smells are present and to seek medical advice if they feel unwell.

However, locals are warned not to block windows or vents completely as they provide air to vent cookers or heaters, and can help to control damp.

PHW maintains that reducing the cause or source of offsite odours from the landfill site must be a priority to reduce exposure and any potential health effects on the nearby community.

Odours

First Minister Vaughan Gething has been embroiled in controversy concerning the site’s owner, businessman David Neal, who donated £200,000 to his Labour leadership campaign.

Mr Neal has received two suspended prison sentences for dumping toxic sludge in the Gwent Levels – a protected landscape near Newport.

For more than six months, smells which have left locals “on all fours throwing their guts up” have emanated from the Pembrokeshire site, which is regulated by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Stress

PHW has welcomed plans to position static air monitoring around the site going forward to help capture more detailed data.

Dr Sarah Jones, Consultant in Environmental Public Health for Public Health Wales said: “We recognise the real stress and anxiety that local people are under as a result of odours around the Withyhedge landfill site. Like local residents, we are very eager to see a rapid resolution to this issue.

“The health risk assessment will continue to be reviewed and updated as more monitoring data is made available to us.”

Chair of the Air Quality Group for the Multi-Agency Incident Management team Gaynor Toft said: “We note the risk assessment from Public Health Wales and continue to refine and develop the air quality monitoring programme in the vicinity of the landfill site. Suitable static monitoring locations are being identified for the siting of equipment.

“We continue to work in collaboration as the Air Quality Group to ensure that robust data is collated to inform future Public Health Wales assessments.”

Impact

In the Senedd on Tuesday (June 18), the First Minister was grilled on the impact Withyhedge was having on locals and his connection to the site’s owner.

The embattled FM said he was not “directly engaged” with matter as it was being overseen by the Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs.

He said: “As the regulator, they (NRW) need to work with the site operator, they need to work with local public health authorities and with the council with the different responsibilities they have. I expect them to do that to deliver improvement.

“There’s no different standard to be applied to this operator or any other, and in fact, this Government will go on to improve standards for environmental regulation to make sure that the polluter really does pay where there’s a breach of those standards.”

Huwel Manley of Natural Resources Wales said: “We acknowledge the report and will continue to use our regulatory powers to drive improvements on site to address causes of odour affecting the community.”


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Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
24 days ago

It’s not about odour it is about breathing in a gas as toxic as cyanide.

David
David
24 days ago

VG has missed a chance for a photo shoot at the site.

William robson
William robson
24 days ago
Reply to  David

At the Tip

William robson
William robson
24 days ago

Why is he still in office
Should have gone weeks ago

Yuri Nator
Yuri Nator
24 days ago
Reply to  William robson

Agreed. Bearing in mind the additional revelations that Gething has on multiple occasions previously challenged decisions that went against Dauson Environmental Group (“Dauson”) by Natural Resources Wales and had clearly tried to influence decisions to be made in Dauson’s favour, his judgment is clearly questionable about Dauson.

The other fact that there’s no getting away from us that Dauson went on to donate money to multiple Gething campaigns, not just the recent one. You don’t go donating in excess of £238,000 over several years to a politician gratuitously. Anyone believing otherwise is, frankly, deluded.

Last edited 24 days ago by Yuri Nator
Wayne
Wayne
23 days ago

And still people vote for a labour party .that are happy to see this happening to our country.and who do they blame for Thier total failures .. Westminster .. They never thake responsibility for Thier actions . they are the government of this this country and the blame for Thier failure is theirs alone .. We have a so called first minister who refuses to leave . even though we have no confidence in anything he does.. However E should be made to live on this toxic site .. Unfortunately it’s us that will have to pay for the removal… Read more »

Honest welsh
Honest welsh
23 days ago

If it was a member of the public or probably anyone else coursing this.
Would probably be locked up by Now.
But £/200 thousand can buy a lot of stinky favours
As the First Minister said His matehas done nothing wrong.

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