I spoke with the Environment Agency earlier today. Their press release is below. I understand their need to work within the law, in the interests of securing a successful resolution, but surely a number of these actions could and should have been identified earlier.
The public call with the EA is tomorrow afternoon (details here: https://www.facebook.com/AaronBell4NUL/posts/597035768365617)
The Environment Agency has issued Walleys Quarry Ltd with three Compliance Assessment Reports, identifying five permit breaches.
The breaches were for general management failures related to a late surface emissions survey and inadequate related remedial work; failure to review the procedures for managing dust on site; and odours offsite being directly attributed to the site.
Compliance assessment reports form part of the Environment Agency’s formal regulation. The Environment Agency now legally requires the operator to complete a significant number of actions to rectify these breaches. These include:
• By 1 June complete the actions it has identified following its surface emissions survey work.
• Repeat a full surface emissions survey by 18 June and report its findings by 25 June to allow the regulator to evaluate the effectiveness of the actions.
• Investigate the integrity of the gas utilisation plant and flares system and submit a detailed report of findings by 4 June.
• Complete a methane flux box survey, which is a different type of emissions survey used to test the capping, by 30 September*.
• Submit a revised dust management plan by 14 June.
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said:
“We’re sorry the community are continuing to experience odour from Walleys Quarry. We are doing everything within our powers and within current legislation to bring the operator into compliance. This will take time and is not because we are not doing anything, or don’t care, it’s because, like anything involving legal processes, we have to ensure it is right and will be successful.
“We have issued Walleys Quarry Ltd with a large number of actions to complete, most in a very short-period of time. This work needs to be done as a matter of urgency given the ongoing odours the local community are suffering from.
“We will continue to hold the site operator to account to improve its management of landfill gas from the site and do everything within our power to bring the site back into compliance with its permits as quickly as possible.”
Walleys Quarry is an active landfill. The Environment Agency understands that many residents would like it to be closed. Closing the landfill would not stop the odours emitting from the site, and these odours would still need to be managed.
*Methane flux box tests are a tool used to detect the amount of leakage of methane gas through landfill gas restoration capping layers.