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Pembrokeshire Politics West Wales

Council ‘will issue Withyhedge landfill enforcement’ if needed

The Stop the Stink group

ACTION to stop the “fetid, foul stench” from landfill waste from Cardiff “dumped” at Pembrokeshire’s Withyhedge landfill site could be taken by the council if an ongoing enforcement notice does not address the issue.

Residents who have been campaigning for action to be taken against the odours from the Withyhedge landfill site, to the north of Haverfordwest, say the smell is like “a stink bomb on steroids”.

The site is operated by Withyhedge Landfill (Resources Management Ltd) (RML) and has permission to deposit 250,000 tonnes of waste a year.

An enforcement notice was issued by Natural Resources Wales last month, and NRW is now hoping that the enforcement notice will see the resolution of the odour issue by the beginning of April.

A Pembrokeshire County Council ePetition, by Colin Barnett of the Stop the Stink group, was heard at the March meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, calling on it “to take immediate action to stop landfill waste from Cardiff being dumped onto this site”.

It added: “Since the new owners have started operating from the Withyhedge landfill site they have increased the volume of waste dumped on this site by accepting an additional 50,000 tons of Cardiff residents waste to this site.

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“Local residents now experience a severe deterioration in their quality of life and as they are plagued by acrid and fetid air quality which is so putrid that it severely restricts their right to enjoy full and unrestrained use of their property and gardens.”

In a joint statement issued earlier this month, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), Public Health Wales and Pembrokeshire County Council said they will ensure capping of a waste cell causing significant odour issues at Withyhedge.

Speaking at the meeting, Colin Barnett said: “We are turning to you now and asking why we haven’t had your support, there has to be a better way of addressing this problem than a campaign, a better way that you, yourselves, can help us.”

He described the smell as “a fetid foul stench,” adding: “When this goes into your house it’s foul, it’s rancid.”

He later said: “This is as bad as a chemical spill,” adding: “It’s not Pembrokeshire’s waste, it’s waste that comes into Pembrokeshire, they have carte blanche to bring in anything they like.”

Chief Executive Will Bramble said the council was “working extremely closely” with Public Protection Wales and NRW, adding: “If we have to issue an enforcement notice we will do, but we’re not quite at that stage at the moment.”

Cllr Mike John said: “It’s bad enough driving by in a vehicle, but to live there I can’t imagine. Pembrokeshire is raising recycling levels to be the best in Wales, it’s a bit of kick in the teeth for Pembrokeshire to be recycling so hard and all this waste is coming into Pembrokeshire; we’ve got to a tipping point where pressure needs to be put.”

Deputy leader Cllr Paul Miller said: “The council’s powers are limited, but I offer this as my personal commitment to do everything we can.

“Personally, I don’t want this landfill activity in the county.”

Cllr David Howlett said he had previously represented the area for 14 years, with only one incident reported in that time, adding: “Things have gone badly wrong, it’s the people of Pembrokeshire that are having to put up with this, so much waste is coming down the M4 corridor.”

He later moved a proposal that updates on the ongoing issue be – via scrutiny committee – brought to full council, after a call for immediate enforcement, made by Cllr Aled Thomas was later withdrawn.

“People in this area are suffering for too long, I would’ve liked stronger action, but we are where we are; there’s huge frustration here, we need to be part of the solution,” said Cllr Howlett.

Members unanimously agreed the ongoing matter be referred to scrutiny, before being brought back to full council.

Mr Barnett said: “It’s a short-term and long-term health issue we’re concerned about, it’s a bloody mess but we should not be in this position now, NRW has failed the public to regulate this site and let us breathe poisonous gas.

“I thank you for your support, but we will be back if you don’t address this.”