To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Environment Agency has not suspended the permit for Walleys Quarry landfill in Staffordshire, despite reports of over 60 permit breaches since the beginning of 2019
22 June 2022
The Environment Agency (EA) continues to require Walleys Quarry Ltd. to take all the necessary steps to achieve a reduction in hydrogen sulphide (H 2S) levels, based on the recommendations of the UKHSA. These actions are set out in the EA's plan to reduce H 2S emissions at the landfill site, which is published on its citizen space web page: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/west-midlands/walleys-quarry-landfill-sliverdale/#section2 and attached to this answer. There are four air quality monitoring units around Walleys Quarry Landfill, monitoring air quality 24 hours a day - the highest number ever deployed by the EA. Ministers are updated weekly on the situation at the site.
The EA has required remedial actions to be taken using Compliance Assessment Reports. In March 2021, the EA served an Enforcement Notice which required Walleys Quarry Ltd. to complete capping works on the site. In May 2022, the EA served an Enforcement Notice requiring Walleys Quarry Ltd. to submit new waste acceptance procedures, part of its environment management system, by 10 June 2022.
Service of a Suspension Notice represents an escalation of enforcement response. Any Suspension Notice would need to specify the risk of pollution, and the steps required to be taken to remove that risk and comply with the permit condition. If an operator is completing actions to remedy permit breaches set by the EA, a Suspension Notice is less likely to be considered a proportionate response.
The EA has not ruled out serving a Suspension Notice. The EA would consider suspending permitted activities where it has compelling evidence to support the conclusion that a specific permit breach involves a risk of pollution.
Work to install permanent and temporary capping on Phases 1 and 2 of the landfill is ongoing and expected to be completed by later this month (June 2022). Walleys Quarry Ltd is obliged to install the required landfill gas management infrastructure for the next phases for waste tipping in line with a Landfill Gas Management Plan, which the EA agrees is appropriate to manage the risks of pollution.