Natural Resources Wales to assess compliance with enforcement notice at Withyhedge Landfill

NRW regulatory officer inspecting at Withyhedge Landfill

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) officers will conduct a series of assessments this week to determine if specified actions have been completed by the operator of Withyhedge Landfill in Pembrokeshire to address the ongoing odour issues.

NRW issued the landfill operator Resources Management UK Ltd (RML) with a Regulation 36 Enforcement Notice on 18 April. Each of the steps outlined in the Notice must be completed by the end of 14 May.

RML’s announcement on Friday 10 May that they intend to voluntarily cease waste acceptance temporarily at the landfill from 14 May in no way impacts the deadlines set in the notice.

Industry regulation team officers will be present on site and in local communities over the coming days, carrying out various assessments both on and off site to determine if all the steps specified within the Notice have been completed satisfactorily, and if there are reduced odour emissions from the site.

Officers will also be conducting a full-site inspection to assess compliance with their permit. Once those assessments have been completed, NRW will then be in a position to establish whether the operator has complied with all elements of the Regulation 36 Enforcement Notice. If the Notice has not been fully complied with, or if further issues are identified, NRW will consider its enforcement response.

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

“The 14 May deadline is the final date for RML Ltd to have completed all the actions they have identified to get the odour issues at Withyhedge Landfill under control.

“Determining if the operator has addressed all the steps set out in our notice and, crucially, if they have had the effect of reducing odour and landfill gas emissions from the site, will take some time.

“We fully understand the strength of feeling and growing impatience amongst people living and working in the surrounding communities. We want to reassure them that our officers will be focussing their efforts on inspecting the work carried out by RML, and undertaking assessments on and off site over the days following the deadline, which will include a full site inspection next week.

“Only when those assessments have been completed and data analysed will we be in a clearer position to determine if the Regulation 36 Notice has been complied with, and whether the action taken by the operator has improved the odour issue.

“If the series of steps required in this Notice are not complied with, we will consider the appropriate further enforcement action, looking at all options available to us under the regulations.

“While the pressing work required by the operator progresses over the coming days, the site remains under investigation, and we will continue our regulatory efforts.”

  • Works associated with the capping of the cell have continued this week. This has required the extension of three leachate wells within the uncapped section of the landfill. For short periods of time some leachate wells will need to be temporarily disconnected to allow capping works to be completed. Where this is necessary the operator has been instructed to re-connect the wells as soon as possible.
  • Additional landfill gas wells have been connected to the gas abstraction network, which transfers landfill gas to the Gas Utilisation Plant (GUP). This is situated in the southwest corner of the landfill and has been treating gas at the site since 2007. The site has two gas engines that are used to generate electricity, which is then sent to the National Grid. There is also a large, enclosed flare that is used to treat excess gas. The GUP is designed to have excess treatment capacity for the site’s gas generation.

If odour issues are present after 14 May, residents and workers in the communities surrounding the landfill are urged to continue to report the odour to NRW via the online reporting form or by calling 0300 065 3000.