Today I was pleased that the Waste Minister, Jo Churchill MP, accepted my invitation to come to Newcastle-under-Lyme to discuss Walley's Quarry landfill.
Jo and I first met with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council Leader, Simon Tagg, who is also the County Councillor for the division containing the landfill and Cabinet Member for the Environment.
Further to this discussion, and along with the Environment Agency, we met with representatives from the local community, hearing from residents who have been directly affected by the foul odours coming from the site.
This was the first visit the Minister has undertaken to a waste site since her appointment. Jo clearly recognised the gravity of the situation and the impact this has had on residents in the surrounding communities.
Earlier in the day, Jo visited the landfill to see for herself the source of the problem and what works had been completed to reduce the odour. She is clear that the problem is not yet fully resolved.
I am very glad that she recognises the seriousness of the situation here in Newcastle, and has committed to continuing to hold the EA to account in their role as regulator. For their part, the EA reiterated that they have all the resources they need to tackle the ongoing issues at Walley’s Quarry.
It is now time for the Environment Agency to hold the operator of the site, Walley’s Quarry Limited, fully to account for the multiple breaches of their permit and the suffering they have caused to so many of my constituents.
Thank you to Jo for visiting Newcastle and listening to the concerns of residents.