Today I had a very productive meeting at the Poplars landfill site with Biffa.
We were joined by the Environment Agency, local County Councillors Phil Hewitt, Bryan Jones and Johnny McMahon, and local resident, Kerrie.
Biffa reassured us that they want to address the smell from the site; they want to remain a good neighbour to us all and are working hard to try and address the odour. They have been carrying out various daily and weekly surveys to try and identify where any smell escapes from and take action to fix those leaks.
The weather conditions have greatly impacted on the escape and spread of odour. They believe that the clay caps used on the site, something that was common across the industry, have not been effective because of the heavy rainfall in recent months. It has been incredibly wet this Autumn and this has resulted in far more odour escaping from the site. This is not something that has happened to this scale in recent years.
They have undertaken a number of actions to collect more gas from the site, which is used to generate electricity, and are now carrying out urgent work to install new plastic capping over the existing clay capping.
The plastic capping will take several weeks to install, and the smell should reduce as this work progresses. To put into perspective how seriously Biffa are taking this issue, this is work they would never normally do in the winter. This is work that would normally only ever be carried out in the summer, but they want to stop any smell escaping.
We will be meeting again in a month’s time and see if this action has worked and if any further action is required. Biffa have also committed to more public bulletins to keep local residents updated.
In order to further support accurate information about the odour from the site and for Biffa and the Environment Agency to take action, when reporting the smell to the Environment Agency it is essential to be specific about the location and level of the smell.
The scale used is 1 to 6, with 1 being ‘I can just detect it’ and 6 inducing vomiting. It’s essential that the reports made to the Environment Agency are accurate and timely. There are other capped landfill sites in the area so it’s important the information supplied to the Environment Agency is accurate. The 24 hour reporting line is 0800 80 70 60.
Finally, Biffa have offered that any residents who would like, can tour the site. This will be arranged via Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Parish Council, for which our County Councillors will provide details later.