Landfill operator had “not used appropriate measures to prevent…the odour” – Environment Agency

Gas escaping from Redhill landfill site (picture from Environment Agency)

Gas escaping from Redhill landfill site (picture from Environment Agency)

We have received a lot of calls, emails and tweets over the last week or so about the smell from the Redhill landfill site. Smells do occur from the site year round, but the stink has been extraordinary recently, with reports from Earlswood and Reigate, and even from people on passing trains.

As always, our advice to people reporting the smell is to phone the Environment Agency on 0800 807060 to report it. The more reports they get, the more seriously they will treat the problem, and last week, due to the large number of reports they received, the EA brought forward a scheduled survey, and paid a visit to the site.

We have spoken to the Environment Agency a number of times about this, and they have sent us a copy of the report they produced after last week’s survey (you can download the full report here). Their investigations revealed a number of areas where landfill gas and odours were being emitted on site. They required Biffa to write an action plan to deal with the problem, which they did by the end of last week, and the EA asked Biffa to bring some of their target dates forward.

The EA is monitoring to ensure that Biffa carry out the work, and is visiting regularly. They will also do another full site survey in the next few days. Biffa is installing more gas infrastructure and if this does solve the problem, we should start to smell the benefits in about a week.

At present the EA is not considering enforcement action (i.e. making Biffa take action) but is engaging with them to encourage them to do it voluntarily. So far this approach seems to be working but enforcement remains an option and we will press the EA to use its powers if necessary.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and speak to both Biffa and the EA. We will keep you updated with any developments via Twitter (follow us on @RedhillGreens) and also on this website.

To reiterate: it really is important to report it to the EA whenever it’s bad – that number again 0800 807060. At the moment they are sending someone out to check on every single report. It is important they understand the scale of the problem.

You can also read more on this story on the Surrey Mirror’s website.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted Saturday, 1 February 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    The smell has been horrific this week- we thought that a nearby road was being resurfaced, it smelt like that oily, tar-like, acrid smell.

    My ashma- which has been fine since I stopped smoking 11 years ago- has been triggered by this and I’m having to use my inhaler to breathe properly.

    Having discovered tonight (via Twitter) the smell is fumes from Redhill landfill site (some distance away) I have just read the most recent report on the potential dangers of living near a ‘well managed’ landfill (which can include birth defeats in babies).

    We are now VERY concerned to be living near a badly run landfill site.

    • Councillor Sarah Finch
      Posted Sunday, 2 February 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sarah

      It has indeed been horrible. I’m sorry to hear that it has triggered your asthma.

      I spoke to Public Health England last week to seek advice for people concerned about effects on their health. The spokeswoman said that while there is no monitoring data they can’t give definitive advice. However it is highly unlikely to cause any lasting physical harm. They are meeting with the Environment Agency early this week to look in more detail at the case and will then publish advice. We will share that on Twitter and on this website.

      The EA are requiring Biffa to installing new gas wells and infrastructure which should relieve the current problem. We need to do all we can to ensure Biffa run the site properly from now on – and to oppose the landfilling of food and other putrescible waste which causes landfill gas.

      The good news is that from my vantage point, some 500m from the site, there appears to be no smell today.

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