I am pleased to announce that next Tuesday I will be bringing forward a motion in the Commons to introduce a Bill to regulate odorous emissions from landfills. There is fierce competition for these slots in Parliament so I am pleased to have secured one.
I must stress to constituents at the outset that there is next-to-no chance of this Bill, as presented, passing through Parliament and becoming law. Realistically there is rarely time for such Bills to be considered beyond the introductory stage. However, this is a useful Parliamentary procedure to further highlight the issue and put some additional pressure on Government (and its agencies). Such Bills often also attract coverage from journalists.
More importantly, aspects of Private Members' Bills such as this are often incorporated into future Government Bills, which I will continue to press for. No community should have to suffer in the way Newcastle-under-Lyme has done.
My proposed Bill would:
1️⃣ Introduce a presumption against planning applications for new landfill sites liable to cause odorous emissions in built-up areas.
2️⃣ Set limits for odorous emissions from landfill sites.
3️⃣ Make provision for the payment of compensation by site operators to local residents when emissions exceed those limits.
On point 1, I continue to believe that Walley's Quarry should never have been permitted to become a landfill, given its location. A presumption against such usage in future would protect other communities.
On point 2, I have said before at Westminster that I think we in the UK should be aspiring to stricter limits on odour annoyance/nuisance than the World Health Organisation prescribe.
The World Health Organisation's limits for hydrogen sulphide are:
⚠️ Human health (averaged over 24 hours): 150μg/m³ (micrograms per cubic metre)
⚠️ Annoyance (averaged over 30 minutes): 7μg/m³
For comparison, the 30-minute peak observed in the 2019 monitoring exercise was just short of 45μg/m³ (see chart 3.2.5). The highest 24-hour mean figure was just short of 5μg/m³ (see chart 3.2.4).
In my view, we ought to be reducing this 7μg/m³ annoyance figure by at least half. I am also proposing a framework for compensation (point 3) where this new limit is exceeded.