Natural Resources Wales takes further enforcement action at Withyhedge Landfill

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Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has taken further enforcement action at Withyhedge Landfill in Pembrokeshire, setting out the urgent steps that must be taken by its operators to address the ongoing odour and landfill gas emission issues at the site.

NRW has issued site operators Resources Management UK Ltd (RML) with a further Regulation 36 Enforcement Notice which requires the operator to deliver a series of actions by specified deadlines – the first of which is to be achieved by 21 April 2024.The actions include implementing measures relating to gas management infrastructure, further capping of areas of the site, as well as improving interim cover arrangements as the work progresses.  Each of the steps outlined in the Notice have to be completed by 14 May, although the notice stipulates that the majority of the works will be required to be completed before 8 May. The measures are intended to address the odour issues experienced by communities surrounding the site.

While actions set out in the Section 36 Notice issued in February to prepare and cap a waste cell and install gas infrastructure to contain and collect landfill gases appear to have been completed, other possible areas on site where odour may be coming from have been identified by the site operator.

RML submitted their plans on how to resolve these issues last week, with the proposed solutions informing the actions included in the new S36 notice issued this week.

This new enforcement activity requires the operator to deliver the additional steps they need to take. If the actions outlined in this new Notice are not complied with, NRW will consider further enforcement exploring all the regulatory tools available to them.

There are issues which are under investigation and as such, we are unable to go into further detail at this time. If breaches to permit condition are considered to have taken place, then they may be subject to criminal sanctions.

Huwel Manley, Head of South West Operations, NRW, said:

“NRW is taking additional enforcement action to ensure RML Ltd. takes the urgent action they have identified that is needed to get the odour issues at Withyhedge Landfill under control.  
“We fully understand the growing discontent from the affected communities, and we feel that it is unacceptable for residents and visitors to the area to continue to be affected by these odour and landfill gas emissions.
“We want to reassure everyone that we are committed to ensuring RML Ltd. deliver the actions they have identified, and that they work quickly to bring this issue to a resolution.
“While the pressing work required by the operator progresses over the coming days and weeks, the site remains under investigation and we will continue our regulatory presence.
If breaches to permit conditions are considered to have taken place, then they may be subject to criminal sanctions. The resulting evidence from these enquiries will be reviewed to decide upon the appropriate criminal response.”

Will Bramble, Pembrokeshire County Council Chief Executive, said:

“We are extremely disappointed that RML, the company managing the Withyhedge landfill site, has not delivered the necessary action to stop the completely unacceptable odour emissions.
“We fully support the additional enforcement action being taken by NRW and continue to work closely with them to do all in our power to correct the situation. 
"We also support the intent of NRW to take further action should it fail to meet the deadline set of 14 May 2024 – including considering taking action to suspend the permit.
“Geotechnology is carrying out monitoring under the direction of the air quality cell and liaising directly with residents affected.
“We will ensure the data is made available to the public at the earliest opportunity.”

NRW requests that instances of odour from the landfill continue to be reported via this dedicated form:

Please report odours at the time of them being experienced, rather than historically. Reporting odours in a timely manner will help guide the work of partners more effectively, particularly in the further development of air quality monitoring.