Legal scales
Legal action could be taken against landfill site operator Walleys Quarry Ltd after complaints about the site in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Council calls for swift decision from Environment Secretary to approve legal action against Walleys Quarry operators 

1 min read

A council has asked for Government approval “as quickly as possible” to take legal action against the operators of a landfill site at the centre of a long-running smell nuisance row. 

Earlier this month Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council notified Walleys Quarry Ltd that the site operator had failed to properly control emissions from the landfill in Silverdale. The business was therefore considered in breach of a court-granted Abatement Notice. 

Now, following detailed legal advice, the Borough Council says it must ask permission of the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to take the legal action. 

That’s because DEFRA oversees the Environment Agency – which is responsible for regulating the site. 

Walleys Quarry has been subject to numerous complaints over foul-smelling odours. A petition started by Aaron Bell, MP for Newcastle-Under-Lyme, calling for the landfill site to be closed has over 8,000 signatures. 

Simon McEneny, Interim Chief Executive of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “The terms of the Abatement Notice say that we need the permission of the Secretary of State to take the next step in bringing legal action. 

“Therefore, we will be writing to the Hon Steve Barclay MP in the next few days to request he grants that permission as quickly as possible so that we can continue preparing the case against the site operators for creating or allowing statutory odour nuisance.” 

In August 2021, the Borough Council served an Abatement Notice against Walleys Quarry Ltd, a subsidiary of Red Industries Ltd, requiring it to control the smell nuisance caused by landfill operations. 

The landfill operators contested the action, but dropped the appeal following mediation and the Abatement Notice became enforceable in March 2023.  

Accepting that the landfill had been a source of ‘community complaint’, the company agreed it must control odour problems by ‘the best practicable means’ and to publicise information about what was happening there. 

Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said: “There has been a formal process of evidence gathering for council officers to follow and that has taken time, with seeking detailed King’s Counsel’s (KC’s) advice and building a case that officers believe presents clear evidence that the operator has failed to properly control emissions. 

“Councillors don’t have any power to influence any legal action, which is the responsibility of the council to pursue, but I wholeheartedly support the action officers have taken so far.  

“It is wrong that residents continue to suffer the gas odours in their own homes, wrong that they feel unable to let their children play in their gardens and I want them to know that the council is doing all it can within its limited powers to hold them to account.” 

Nigel Pye

Experienced journalist with a 30-year career in the newspaper and PR industry and a proven record for breaking stories for the national and international press. Nigel is the Editor of Daily Focus and Head of Creative at i-creation. Other work includes scriptwriting, magazine and video production, crisis communications and TV and radio broadcasts.

Latest from Blog