For the second time in less than six months, the Environment Agency has rejected an application to transfer the environmental permit for Blaydon Quarry landfill, near Newcastle upon Tyne, to a different operator.
And, the Agency has issued an enforcement notice requiring remedial work be immediately carried out on the site after an investigation following public reports concerning odour.
In a decision published last week, the Agency said the transferee’s operator and financial competence was not up to scratch, as well as the owner having “significant permit breaches” previously.
The rejection for Octagon Green Solutions comes on the back of a similar outcome in August last year for the same site, when the company applied to transfer its permit to Recyclogical. The Agency stated at the time “that it did not have the confidence that permit compliance could be achieved.”
The Blaydon Quarry landfill site is located in Blaydon-on-Tyne, Newcastle. Planning permission was granted by Gateshead Council in 1988, allowing extraction and landfilling with household waste until 2026.
Octagon Green Solutions Ltd acquired the site in March 2013 and, according to its website, “is seeking to regularise the permission, and change the restoration landform and land cover.”
“This will allow the restored site to fit in better with the surrounding landscape. Octagon Green Solutions is continually committed to restoring the site to a high standard, working towards the long term enhancement of the environment and local amenity,” the Octagon website added.
In April 2016, Complaints from local residents about odour led to the Agency issuing notices concerning Octagon Green Solutions’ Blaydon Quarry landfill site near Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2016.
The Agency said that Octagon complied with an enforcement notice soon after (See letsrecycle.com story).
Following August’s rejection, Octagon Solutions filed another request to transfer the environmental permit, this time to Manchester-based Midwest Solutions.
Midwest Solutions was formed in August 2017 and has two directors.
In the refusal letter this week, the Agency said that one of the individuals “has not demonstrated any relevant industry specific qualifications nor experience of operating a complex waste installation such as a landfill…… is also the Technically Competent Manager and holds a relevant qualification, but has exaggerated his experience and position as the MRF and Landfill Manager at” another site.
The letter added that although he has a WAMITAB qualification, an operator competence certificate, a review of the compliance history for [another] landfill since Jan 2014 reveals a significant number of occasions when the permit conditions were breached”.
Including in the listed breaches were a breach for the removal of gas and groundwater infrastructure due to quarrying operations in 2016 and a large waste fire in November 2015. “Company advised EA that it was a cultural event,” the refusal letter stated.
Octagon Green Solutions
Octagon Green Solutions was founded in 2012 by Kevin John Wanless, according to government directory Companies House, and was granted an environmental permit for Blaydon Quarry in January 2016.
Earlier this week (February 7), two days after the rejection letter, the Environment Agency updated the page which outlines how it regulates and monitors Blaydon Quarry landfill. It was initially published in April 2014.
The update explained that as a result of the rejection, Octagon Green Solutions remains the legal operator of the landfill site and is responsible for permit compliance. It added that it has issued an enforcement notice requiring remedial work be carried out on the site, which has already started and will take up to six weeks. This includes the installation of an engineered sealing layer and gas extraction pipework.
Octagon Solutions and Midwest Solutions have been approached for comment by letsrecycle.com.