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Residents concerned for health over continuous landfill smell

Credit: J Media Group Press & Media

The Pilsworth South landfill in West Heywood has caused concern amongst locals over alleged health side-effects due to the ‘horrific smell’ continuing to emit from the landfill.

Residents have been reporting a foul odour, similar to rotten egg or burning plastic, since last November but many feel it has got significantly worse since then and are demanding action.

The Environment Agency sent out a newsletter on the 17th of January regarding the Landfill site and confirmed the landfill had been in breach of its operator's permit late last year. It also sets out how the landfill operators plan to reduce the odour in the future.

A Change.org petition demanding an investigation and public disclosure of Pilsworth South Landfill site operations has gained over 3,000 signatures, stating that residents are worried about what they might inhale from the landfill.

Councillor for West Heywood, Angela Brown, said: “From January, people further away from the site have been complaining, and it’s still getting worse now.”

“My main priority is getting the odour suppressed and stopped, and my second priority is making sure they [Valencia Waste Management] don’t get any extensions on their permit”

“If they [Valencia Waste Management] cannot sort this out in the next couple of weeks, they should have their permit removed.”
Pilsworth South Landfill, in a statement on Facebook, said: “Valencia Waste Management Limited is fully aware of a significant number of odour complaints within the local area.”

“We want to assure you that the business takes this extremely seriously and is committed to significant investment to minimise the current and future potential for odour escaping the site.”

A community action group on Facebook (Pilsworth South Landfill-Community Action Group) has gained over 1,800 members, with people posting their complaints and concerns about the landfill site.

Thomas, a Local Resident, said: “I am concerned about our health and have definitely had more migraines over the last six months due to the constant smell.”

“I would like our MP [Chris Clarkson, MP for Middleton and Heywood]  to do something about it, not just refer us to newsletters.”

In response, MP Chris Clarkson commented: “Despite the tip being in Bury, I have been actively engaged with the Environment Agency and in regular contact with every resident who has contacted me about the problem.”

A local resident, Becky, said: “Since the smell started getting bad in about November, I’ve just been getting loads of migraines and headaches, and they always coincide with the smell.”

“I'm constantly on medication now, painkillers for the headache; it's just depressing and frustrating, feeling constantly out of it, and I've had to have my anti-depressants increased because of it.”

An Environment Agency spokesperson said:  “We would like to thank members of the community who have reported odour issues to us at a site in the Pilsworth area.”

“Our officers continue to attend the site on a regular basis and our regulatory investigations are currently ongoing. We are using the regulatory powers available to us while working with multiagency partners to resolve this issue.” 

“Members of the public can continue to report odour to our 24/7 incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”  

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