Landfill smell: making sure the lessons are learned

Here, with apologies for slowness, is a report of my visit to the Biffa landfill on 12 May.

Jonathan Essex and I visited the landfill site for an update on the works Biffa had undertaken to deal with the serious smell problem that blighted Redhill for several months this year.

We met with the site manager, Amie Jenner, and reviewed the work Biffa had done to address the issues identified in the Environment Agency’s Enforcement Notice and resulting action plans.

Amie told us all the actions had been completed – and the Environment Agency have separately confirmed this.

Ongoing monitoring

Both Biffa and the Environment Agency continue to carry out hydrogen sulphide monitoring routinely and when smells are reported.  The Agency’s Air Monitoring unit is in place at Water Colour and will be there for a year.

The Environment Agency visited the site again last Thursday and report that they are pleased with the progress Biffa has made.  John Radclyffe, the regional Pollution Prevention and Control Officer, told me, “We only identified a couple of areas where gas odour was detectable, and the readings for these areas were very low.”

It is inevitable that there will be occasional smell problems – and as well all know very well now, certain weather conditions make them more likely. For example a couple of cold days in the week following our visit to the site saw complaints return.

However the number of reports has reduced substantially and the Environment Agency says that the odour levels detectable when they visit following the reports are very low.

Formal investigation

The Environment Agency is now carrying out a formal investigation into the incident. This will be made public in due course. This process should lead to lessons being learned and better ways of working required to ensure the major incident last winter is not repeated in the future.

It is still important to continue to report bad smells from the landfill.  Phone the Environment Agency’s 24-hour hotline: 0800 807060


Read more about the incident:


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  1. Andy S
    Posted Monday, 7 July 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Is this supposed to have been resolved?
    I get the train from Sussex to London every day and as soon as we get anywhere near the Holmethorpe Estate area (I googled one of the companies I could see out the window), there is an almighty smell. I always assumed it was something industrial but it seems that it must be this waste tip.
    This can’t do any good for the local area and its reputation as no company would ever want to set up shop within 20 miles of such a reek!

  2. Andy S
    Posted Thursday, 20 November 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the quick reply there councillor….what is the point of having a blog with comments if you don’t respond to people’s concerns. Typical greens.

    • Councillor Sarah Finch
      Posted Thursday, 20 November 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Hi Andy

      I’m so sorry for missing your comment before! Don’t know how that happened.

      Complaints about the smell have reduced a lot since the summer now that Biffa has finally covered the part of the site where they left out gas collection pipes before.

      We are pressing the Environment Agency to release the results of their formal investigation into the smell incident. This is still “being considered by their Legal Services team”.

      Meanwhile, we have been working with residents investigating the Soil Treatment Facility which is located on the landfill site but run by a different company, Biogenie.

      Following our investigations, Biogenie has released new information to the Environment Agency, who have required them to do some additional air pollution monitoring. We’re pressing for that to be public too.

      We try to post updates on this blog but as you have seen, we don’t always succeed!

      Please do continue to report smells from the site to the Environment Agency 0800 807060

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