Prime Minister Boris Johnson has waded into the debate about a ‘smelly’ quarry as calls are made to shut down the site.
The PM was asked about Walleys Quarry in Silverdale during a visit to Stoke-on-Trent this week after 2,000 complaints were made about odours from the site over the weekend.
The stench was reported across Newcastle borough, and as far away as Stoke-on-Trent.
Mr Johnson said: “I do not in any way minimise people’s frustrations. If it’s been going on for a while then we’ll have to sort it out.”
The news comes as an emergency council meeting has been called, demanding the landfill cease operations.
The Labour motion demands the Environment Agency (EA) cease all operations at Walleys Quarry and suspend their licence.
They also want:
Residents to be health screened regularly for any consequence of the odour;
Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council to make the same demands of the EA;
To write to the Government to request an investigation into the EA’s handling of the quarry licence.
Labour county councillor for Silverdale, Dave Jones said: “For years, there have been problems at the site but of late the smells have been intolerable.
“It is affecting thousands of families, including my own, who live in the surrounding villages.
“Last year, despite objections, the EA granted permission for the amount of waste on the site to be upped from 250,000 tonnes a year to 400,000 tonnes.
“We cannot carry on with this and until there can be absolute certainty that the site is safe for local residents. All activity should be stopped.”
Responding on Twitter, Newcastle Borough Council leader Simon Tagg added: “I don’t think it goes far enough. If we are going to make a stand then then we must recommend the landfill is closed and capped off.”
Meanwhile, Mr Tagg has further called for the resignation of the Environment Agency boss for the West Midlands over the matter too.
The site is operated by Red Industries.
An EA spokesman said: “We installed the first of two specialist air quality mobile monitoring units on February 24 in the grounds of the Severn Trent Pumping Station off Galingale View, Newcastle.
“This is an area where residents have specifically reported odour. Unfortunately the unit has not begun collecting data due to electrical supply issues.
“We understand this is frustrating for residents but this will be resolved by the end of this week. The equipment will remain in place for at least 3 months to continuously collect data. It will monitor relevant parameters, including methane (CH4) particulates and hydrogen sulphide (H2S).
“Data will be collated into a full report which we will give to Public Health England to provide expert opinion on any human health impacts.
“We will then share the findings with local residents and interested parties, including an assessment of any environmental impacts.”
Red Industries has been approached for comment.