All the proposed gas extraction wells have now been installed in the phase one area of the landfill (though not all are connected yet), which means more gas is being collected and there has been a significant reduction in the escape of gas, and a recent fall in recorded odour and complaint numbers (though not to zero).
The completion of cell 1 is on track to be completed by the end of the month, and this will be followed by permanent capping which should lead to a further reduction in odour.
However the Minister, the County Council and I share residents’ concerns that the odour may pick up again, particularly next winter. We cannot continue to go through a cycle of improvement and outbreaks.
Therefore, the Minister has agreed to come up to Newcastle-under-Lyme in the near future to see for herself how the capping is progressing and to meet with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and the County Council.
I will continue to push this issue through all relevant channels until we can live stink free. Both the councils (Borough & County) and I are still pushing for an early capping-off of the whole site, and I continue to believe that the multiple breaches by the operator more than justify removing the permit.