Withyhedge Landfill Investigation Update 5.1.24.
We continue to receive large numbers of odour incident reports regarding Withyhedge Landfill, Pembrokeshire, and understand the frustration and anger this is causing in local communities.
Before Christmas we served an Enforcement Notice on the landfill operator requiring them to cover all exposed waste before the festive break to reduce fugitive odour emissions. Although the site completed this action, unfortunately it appears to have had limited impact on reducing offsite odours.
The landfill reopened on 2 January and residents may have seen vehicles arriving since this date. No further waste will be deposited in the cell where tipping was taking place before Christmas. The construction validation report for a new cell has been agreed and waste will be deposited in this location.
During our site inspection on 19 December 2023, we carried out a preliminary landfill gas survey in the cell used to deposit waste in 2023. The results indicate that gas at varying levels is being released across the waste mass as it begins to decompose. We consider this to be the most probable source of offsite odours.
The cell requires capping and the installation of landfill gas collection and extraction infrastructure to manage this gas. This is standard landfill engineering and the best way to resolve the ongoing odour issues.
The operator has submitted a plan to NRW outlining the steps to cap the former cell. We are currently reviewing this document. The plan indicates a timeframe of 2 – 3 months to complete the capping and landfill gas infrastructure; we will seek to expediate this wherever possible. The plan will not see a reduction in odours which may extend offsite in the immediate or short term. The process will also involve reprofiling the cell prior to capping and this could generate additional odour.
We have increased our regulatory presence onsite and our higher level of oversight will continue for the foreseeable. We are investigating several potential permit non-compliances and where appropriate will take further enforcement action.
We fully acknowledge the level of discontent in the communities surrounding Withyhedge Landfill. We also recognise that our feedback to incident reporters has been limited due to the volume of calls received and us prioritising site-based regulation.
We hope this serves as a useful update but appreciate there may be a lot of questions about the site and our regulatory activity. Therefore, we intend to hold a virtual online meeting in the next couple of weeks to address these queries. Further information on this will follow.
We are thankful to those who are raising this issue to us and encourage anyone affected by odour, or who has concerns about pollution from Withyhedge Landfill, to contact NRW and report via our 24-hour number - 0300 065 3000, or report online Natural Resources Wales / Report an incident. Please ensure the report includes a description of the odour, the time noticed and the duration it is experienced.