£1 million plan to combat landfill gases welcomed by MP

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07 Jan 2011

Newcastle MP Paul Farrelly has welcomed a £1 million investment programme to stem noxious smells from the Walley’s quarry landfill site at Knutton.

Lafarge Aggregates, which operates the site in Cemetery Road, says the control systems installed before Christmas should significantly reduce a stink from the site, which has worried local residents for over a year.

Following complaints from local families, Mr Farrelly visited the site last year to discuss the measures the company had already taken to combat the nuisance. He has now since received assurances about further steps to address the problem.

As part of these, the company has installed a spider-like network of pipes attached to more than 50 on-site gas wells, powered by special engines. Methane and carbon dioxide gases, produced by decomposing waste, are captured by the system and used to generate energy for use by national electricity grid.

The gas control system is being managed by independent contractors who carry out daily site inspections to monitor smells given off and to oversee gas extraction.

David Wilson, Lafarge’s site manager, says the moves will make a “massive difference” to the problem. “The gas system is being implemented progressively to optimise gas extraction and to control odours,” he said.

Welcoming the assurance of continued investment, Mr Farrelly said it was essential that the Environment Agency should also continue to monitor the site’s performance in tackling the issue.

“The dialogue with Lafarge has been very constructive and the company has been very open about the challenges posed by the site, and the expensive steps it is taking to capture as much of the waste gas as possible,’ Newcastle’s MP said.

‘The problem for local families has been exacerbated, undoubtedly, by the Borough Council allowing planning permission on the Keele Road side for houses to back right on to the quarry. That was not right and I hope it doesn’t happen elsewhere.’