Report a smell at Withyhedge Landfill, Pembrokeshire

Closes 31 May 2024

Opened 17 Jan 2024

Overview

Odour Reporting Form

To make reporting odour issues from Withyhedge Landfill as easy as possible, we have set up this dedicated reporting form. All reports will be dealt with in the normal manner by our Incident Communication Centre. If you have provided contact details you will be given a unique reference number and you can opt to receive email updates on the investigation.

Odour Issues Only

This form is for the reporting of odour issues in relation to Withyhedge Landfill only. Any other pollution concerns to do with Withyhedge Landfill should be reported to NRW the usual way (call 0300 065 3000 or report online).

Personal data

Any personal data submitted via this form will be held securely. You have the option to remain anonymous, however to receive regular updates regarding Withyhedge Landfill, we recommend you provide an email address.

Withyhedge Landfill Investigation Overview

Natural Resources Wales would like to thank those who continue to report odour incidents from Withyhedge Landfill, Pembrokeshire.

Please be assured we are taking each report seriously and are focussing all our efforts on addressing the issues raised. Due to the unprecedented number of reports we’re receiving, we are unable to provide individual feedback at this time.

Virtual Public Meeting 31.1.24

We held a virtual public meeting on 31.1.24 to explain to community members affected by the odour and pollution issues exatly what action NRW has taken so far, and what we plan to do next.

Below is the presentation that our industry regulations team gave to attendees.

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Investigation updates

Withyhedge Update 16.2.24

Firstly, we want to apologise for the time taken to provide this update on Withyhedge Landfill and our regulatory actions. The situation has been dynamic, and we have wanted to ensure our updates are aligned with key events linked to resolving the odour issues associated with the landfill.

A few weeks ago, the operator for Withyhedge Landfill (Resources Management Ltd, “RML”) submitted a proposal to NRW for installing the required engineering at the site to contain, manage and collect landfill gas on an uncapped area of waste. The proposal was developed to reduce odours as quickly as possible, in response to requests to prioritise this from other organisations and public representatives. However, it would have resulted in the site not being compliant with its permit.  

We reviewed the proposal thoroughly, with the same desire to reduce fugitive emissions and odours in surrounding communities as soon as possible. The proposal contained many unknowns with potential problems for the future, and on balance, we considered the short-term benefit of alleviating odour more quickly was outweighed by the medium to longer term risks.

We acknowledge that for those being adversely affected by the odour this will be a difficult message. We also understand that commitments to the community may have been made by third parties, citing dates at the end of February/early March. These were based around RML’s proposal which NRW explicitly outlined, remained under review at that time.

We have been cautious about providing timescales for seeing a reduction in odour from the site due to the complexities around the decisions that we have had to make.

This week we have served an Enforcement Notice on RML clearly outlining the steps required of them to return to compliance and complete the landfill engineering work to contain and collect landfill gas. Based on our existing understanding of the primary source of odour, the issue should be resolved by a notice deadline of 5 April 2024.

However, work onsite is progressing daily, and we anticipate noticeable reductions in landfill gas emissions and odours in the coming weeks. The work undertaken by RML under their proposal has not delayed or complicated the requirements placed on them by NRW.

The notice served this week is linked to ongoing investigations into permit non-compliances and therefore we cannot make this publicly available at this time.

As part of the work required by the notice, waste from the top of the area to be capped is being relocated into Cell 8, the current operational part of the landfill. We are aware this activity is highly visible from surrounding communities and have received reports of ‘white smoke’ as the waste is disturbed. NRW had officers on site last week and inspected this area of the landfill. We believe the visual emissions are water vapour, caused by the underlying waste beginning to decay and as part of the process generating heat.

Our inspection last week also focussed on Cell 8, following recent reports of the odour being of a waste, opposed to landfill gas nature. We did not detect waste odours emanating specifically from Cell 8. Downwind of the area to be capped a faint waste odour was noted on the landfill, and at one offsite location. A strong landfill gas odour was also detected offsite. We will continue to monitor both types of odours in the surrounding communities.

We appreciate that it may feel as though limited action takes place in response to incidents of odour reported to us. All reports, whether made by phone, the generic online reporting form, or the specific Withyhedge Landfill reporting form are logged on our Wales Incident Reporting System (WIRS). Each report has a unique reference number and is forwarded through to the regulatory team.

At a time when we expect to see work at the landfill start to result in a reduction of fugitive landfill gas emissions and odour, these reports will be especially important.  They will help us assess the effectiveness of the onsite activity, and also if there are other sources of odour. Therefore, we request that instances of odour from the landfill continue to be reported via our dedicated form.

Withyhedge Update 16.1.24

Natural Resources Wales would like to thank those who continue to report odour incidents from Withyhedge Landfill, Pembrokeshire.

Please be assured we are taking each report seriously and are focussing all our efforts on addressing the issues raised. Due to the unprecedented number of reports we’re receiving, we are unable to provide individual feedback at this time.

We are receiving some reports from beyond the immediate surrounding communities which we are seeking to verify to confirm the extent of impact. In addition, many calls are now detailing health concerns.

Whilst we take such reports very seriously, Natural Resources Wales is not the competent authority to assess the impact on human health.

If you are concerned about impacts on your health, you should:

In accordance with our incident procedures, we have notified Public Health Wales of these reports.

We still view the uncapped cell containing previously tipped waste as the most likely source of landfill gas emission and odour.

Ways to speed up the capping and gas management installation works are being explored. It is critical NRW undertake the necessary checks to ensure that decisions made to resolve issues more promptly now, don’t generate other risks in the future. We are waiting for additional information from the operator to allow us to make these assessments.

We will be contacting community leaders this week to confirm a date for a virtual meeting, which will provide an opportunity for NRW to provide a more detailed update on the work being carried out to investigate and resolve the odour and pollution issues. This will include a question and answer session.

Keep checking our website for updates and reporting odour either via this online form Report a smell at Withyhedge Landfill, our 24-hour number - 0300 065 3000. Please ensure the report includes a description of the odour, the time noticed and the duration it is experienced.

Withyhedge 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.

Withyhedge Update 22.12.23

We fully recognise and understand the great deal of concern there is amongst the local community surrounding Withyhedge Landfill.

We do not underestimate the impact the continuing reports of odour from the site is having on residents and visitors to the area and we are taking this matter seriously.

We are also aware of the apparent overflow from a containment pond and potential pollution caused to the Rudbaxton Brook. This matter is under investigation

Our officers are working extremely hard to ensure the landfill operators take immediate action before the Christmas break to limit impacts from the site over the festive period.

We will continue to update the community as our regulatory activities progress.

Response to reports

We have been receiving increasing numbers of reports of odour from Withyhedge Landfill in Pembrokeshire from surrounding communities since October.

Offsite odour attributed to Withyhedge Landfill has been substantiated by NRW staff on four occasions. We have also detected other odours in the area from agricultural sources and recognise other odour sources are present. We will continue with our odour assessments and are being supported by Pembrokeshire County Council in this activity.

Site Visits

To regulate this site and ensure compliance with its permit our regulatory officers carry out reviews of data, reports and other information provided by the operator. We also carry out site visits to see first-hand how the site is being operated.

Our regulatory officers have attended the landfill on three occasions in November and December 2023 primarily to inspect aspects of the site operation and management which could be contributing to offsite odours. These visits also identified an unauthorised emission, believed to be untreated surface water. This has been sampled and we are awaiting results. Advice and instruction have been provided to the site operator following our visits. We have reinforced the completion of certain actions agreed with the operator by the issue of an enforcement notice. We will continue to monitor the situation and escalate our response if required.

NRW officers are also investigating possible effluent pollution from the site linked to a specific event that was filmed and posted online. Unfortunately, there was a delay in this being reported to NRW. The area of the site in question was inspected on 19 December 2023 and enquiries are ongoing.

Environmental Permit

Withyhedge Landfill operates under an Environmental Permit, which requires the operators to comply with a set of rules and conditions.  To comply with the permit operators must be able to explain to us and explain in their management system what measures they are using to protect people and the environment. If something goes wrong, we need to know what the operator is going to do about it.

Withyhedge Landfill’s permit specifies what types of waste can be disposed of there, and how much can be accepted, but it does not include restrictions on the origin of the waste The volume of waste the site is permitted to accept has not changed since 2011.

Report it

We are grateful to everyone that has reported issues related to this site to us to date, and hope that they are reassured that we are taking all the necessary steps to address this matter.

We 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 and ensure to provide a description of the type of smell you are experiencing.

Withyhedge Update 14.12.23

We are aware of the level of concern in the local community concerning activities at Withyhedge Landfill and the impact the reported odour is having on residents. We are taking this matter seriously.

We have received numerous reports of odour from Withyhedge Landfill in Pembrokeshire from surrounding communities. The landfill activity is regulated by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) under an Environmental Permit.

Offsite odour attributed to Withyhedge Landfill has been substantiated by NRW staff and we continue to visit several locations to investigate the smell further. We have also detected other smells in the area and recognise other odour sources are present.

Our regulatory officers attended the landfill on 2 November 2023 and 7 December 2023 to inspect aspects of the site operation and management which could be contributing to offsite odours.

Advice and instruction has been provided to the site operator and we are in continuing dialogue about odour mitigation and control.

A further visit is scheduled to take place at Withyhedge next week.

As well as site visits, our work to ensure compliance at permitted sites is carried out in various ways behind the scenes, including remote review of data, reports and other information.

We would encourage anyone affected by odour from Withyhedge Landfill to contact us and report via our 24-hour number - 0300 065 3000, ensuring to provide a description of the type of smell you are experiencing.

Areas

  • Haverfordwest: Castle
  • Haverfordwest: Garth
  • Haverfordwest: Portfield
  • Haverfordwest: Prendergast
  • Haverfordwest: Priory

Audiences

  • Citizens

Interests

  • Permits