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 STOKE-ON-TRENT, NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS, SOUTH CHESHIRE

COUNCIL CALLS FOR WALLEYS QUARRY CLOSURE




Members of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council have voted to urge the Environment Agency (EA) to close Walleys Quarry.

 

Describing the odours as a ‘significant public health emergency’, councillors also voted for the Borough Council to assess its legal options and also backed a move to increase the authority’s legal ‘fighting fund’ to £300,000.

 

Councillors at a special meeting of the Full Council called to discuss the continuing issues with Walleys Quarry, heard that complaints about foul odours caused by emissions of hydrogen sulphide had risen steadily in the last three months – with 500 complaints in February so far.

 

Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Borough Council, said: “The community is appalled that after so long this blight on our lives is still here.

 

“The EA is the principal regulatory body for Walleys Quarry with the power to suspend operations, restrict what’s done, or require work be carried out and it should consider using its ‘Closure Notice’ powers.

 

“Months, indeed years, of EA site inspections have brought to us to where we are now and Full Council has now backed Cabinet’s decision to call on the EA to issue a closure notice for this site and the ball is very much in its court: our community wants to know what we’re waiting for.”

 

As well as backing closure, the council’s scrutiny committees will take evidence of the effect of the long-running problem on residents and businesses, as well as inviting the EA, Staffordshire County Council, local health representatives and the operators Walleys Quarry Ltd, a subsidiary of Red Industries, to discuss their perspectives.


The Council is also calling on the EA to publish up-to-date air monitoring data for a year after wrongly calibrating its equipment and for the council to consider its next steps within the terms of the Abatement Notice action implemented last year – following a successful legal action brought by the Borough Council, which saw the operator to accept that its site was the source of ‘community complaint’.

 

Cllr Tagg added: “The Council will continue to do all it can within its limited powers to ease the community’s suffering but we strongly call on EA to use its substantial powers to close the landfill.”

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