Shadow environment secretary hits out at EA for ‘disgusting stench’ at landfill site

The shadow environment secretary, Steve Reed, has penned an open letter to the secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Steve Barclay, last week to question the government over its actions regarding Walleys Quarry landfill site.

Steve Reed, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This comes after the leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme borough council called for an “independent public inquiry” in October 2023 after the Environment Agency admitted that some of its monitoring equipment for the Walleys Quarry Landfill has been faulty (see letsrecycle.com story).

Mr Reed visited the site in Newcastle Upon Lyme to “listen to local peoples concerns about the site” after the community around the Walleys Quarry landfill had complained about odours from the site for several years (see letsrecycle.com story).

The shadow secretary said local residents are angry after the lack of action from the government about the “disgraceful levels of hydrogen sulphide emitting from the site”.

He added that there have been over 90 breaches of permit at the site but despite this no action had been taken from the government.

In his letter Mr Reed highlighted that “monitors that should have triggered action when the level of emissions exceed permitted levels were not even plugged in after installation.”


Mr Reed said: “It is unacceptable that the conservative government and Environment Agency has failed to adequately, regularly and proactively regulate the site, or to account for this ongoing failure. I would be grateful if you could let me know how many meetings you have had about the situation at Walleys Quarry since your appointment. It is disappointing that you have not yet made time to visit Walleys Quarry, but I urge you to go there so you can better appreciate the urgency required to tackle the problem.”

He added: “The stench coming from Walleys Quarry made me feel nauseous and I am angry that so many people in and around Newcastle-under-Lyme have to put up with this every single day. The situation is disgusting and intolerable and I am at a loss as to why the government has not taken the necessary action to end it.”


As of the February 9 2024 update, the Environment Agency revealed that its report into a data adjustment method for “retroactively modifying historical hydrogen sulphide (H2S) data” would be released “shortly” despite having been originally anticipated for the end of January.

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