Agenda and draft minutes

Health and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday 26th July 2021 2:00pm

Venue: Castle House, Barracks Rd, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Newcastle ST5 1BL

Contact: Deb Breedon  Email: deborah.breedon@staffordshire.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

17.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None were received on this occasion.

18.

Walley's Quarry Landfill Site - Health Implications pdf icon PDF 571 KB

To consider matters relating to Walley’s Quarry Landfill Site with a focus on health implications for residents.

 

The Committee will consider background papers, the current position, health implications and mitigation measures from representatives of Staffordshire Resilience Forum, Public Health England, Environment Agency and other Partners..

 

Reports:

 

a)    Walley’s Quarry – Health Implications

b)    Environment Agency Briefing

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair thanked Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council (NuLBC) for hosting the meeting to consider the health and wellbeing impacts of odour emissions from Walley’s Quarry Landfill Site, in Silverdale, Newcastle. The joint approach demonstrated that this Committee and the Health, Wellbeing and Partnerships Committee at NuLBC were taking the health, both physical and mental, and wellbeing of all Staffordshire residents very seriously.

 

The reports previously circulated outlined that the foul odour from Walley’s Quarry Landfill Site (WQ) in Silverdale had been associated with health and wellbeing issues for local residents for a significant period of time.  The emissions and health impacts were reported as much worse for residents in Newcastle under Lyme and in neighbouring areas since the beginning of 2021. Complaints about WQ had increased in December 2020, but increased substantially in January 2021, almost 2000 complaints were received in that month alone and in the eight month period to date several further breaches of the WHO acceptable levels had resulted in many more complaints – towards 50,000.  Data was collated through a survey, a series health impact statements and a symptom tracker.  The data highlighted that the main health impacts for residents were:

-               Odour symptoms: headaches, nausea, dizziness, lack of sleep

-               Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S): eye irritation and mucus membrane irritation, difficulty breathing especially for people with underlying respiratory conditions

-               Mental Health affects anxiety, depression, and disturbed sleep and other mental health impacts

It was explained that the issues residents were experiencing could not be calculated with precision, but the issues were considered real and could be serious for the long term health and wellbeing of the residents particularly as the situation was prolonged. Public Health England (PHE) guidance had been updated in July 2021 to indicate that there was a potential risk to long term health with exposure over a longer period. WQ Ltd had been served an enforcement notice and were complying with the requirements, but that had not had a marked effect on exposure and odour levels. Residents remained unhappy and concerned and wanted the situation to be resolved as soon as possible.

 

A multiagency incident management group was set up in March 2021 to focus on the issues, and in June 2021 this was elevated to a strategic co-ordinating group of key partners from Staffordshire County Council (SCC), Public Health England (PHE), Environment Agency (EA) and Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council (NuLBC).

 

It was understood that the level of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) in the air near to WQ continued to be above the World Health Organisation (WHO) annoyance guideline value for a considerable percentage of the time, this was undesirable due to the effects on people’s health and wellbeing. 

 

Representatives from the multi-partner agencies SCC, EA, PHE and NuLBC attended the meeting to provide clarification to the reports and to respond to members questions.

 

Lines of enquiry: Members questioned the multi-partner agencies on seven key themes to develop a clearer understanding of the evidence and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.