On 21st January 2020 we informed you that at the first full council meeting of 2020 held on Monday 6th January Councillor Richard Worrall (Rushall-Shelfield) presented a petition to council of over 3,000 signatures regarding the Highfields South Landfill Site, in Walsall Wood.
The petition started by a local resident in Walsall Wood states that residents and businesses near the landfill site are having to suffer almost daily with noxious odours coming from the site off Walsall Road.
Since the petition has been handed in to the Council, Councillor Richard Worrall (Rushall-Shelfield) arranged for the petitioner to ask the Council’s Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday 12th February about the specific possible health effects on people in the affected areas.
Cllr Worrall asked Mark Silvester, Chief Executive of Enovert, the company who took over from Cory Environmental, to urgently reinstate the Liaison Group which wound up through lack of take-up by residents. This was agreed, and the first meeting took place on Friday 7th February.
Councillor Matt Ward (Blakenall), Labour Shadow Cabinet member for Clean & Green said the following regarding the issues at Highfield Waste Disposal Site:-
“I first raised this issue with the Executive Director back in November as the smell from the site was becoming so strong. The residents who live close to this site have suffered for far too long with this smell which invades their homes day and night. Although the ultimate responsibility lies with the Environment Agency, Walsall Council has a duty to protect its residents. Like the residents, I have concerns about the effects that this could have on their health as they are having to put up with this smell on a daily basis.
It’s simply not good enough for the council to pass the responsibility onto the Environment Agency. Although works have started to mitigate the smell, there is no guarantee that this will stop the problem. Cllr Richard Worrall has been working hard alongside residents to get this issue resolved and has handed in a petition to the council which will be discussed at the next full council meeting.
I hope that this issue is resolved sooner rather than later as residents have suffered enough already.”
In the meantime before the next full council meeting on 27th February, here is what affected local residents can do:-
- REPORT PROBLEMS TO THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
Highfields is regulated by the Environment Agency (EA), whose officers regularly visit the site to ensure the site operator complies with conditions contained in a permit they have issued.
The EA have requested that complaints are registered direct with them and you can do this by phone or e-mail:
- 0800 807060
We suggest that if you are able to e-mail as well as phoning, then you have a record of the complaint. If you need their postal address, ask me!
- MAKE SURE YOU ALSO INFORM THE COUNCIL
Although the EA is the Government regulatory body which can exercise direct control of landfill operations (that’s why the involvement of the MP is important), I recommend you to also copy in Walsall Council.
Walsall Council will only be aware of your complaint to the Environment Agency if you phone them, or copy them in as well. Here are the Council contact details:
- 01922-658040 (or letter to the Civic Centre)
That is important because:
- Like all local authorities, Walsall Council have a duty to take all reasonable steps to investigate complaints of alleged nuisance.
- It really helps our staff keep track of what the complaints are and from which area, and having good information from you will help staff in discussions with the Environment Agency aimed at solving the problems.
The petition will be formally debated on Thursday 27th February at 6pm in the Council Chamber at Walsall Council House. Members of the public are welcome to sit in the public gallery and hear the petition being discussed by councillors.