Welbeck Landfill Site operator refused permission to tip waste for two more years
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The decision means the operator of Wellbeck Landfill Site will have to stop tipping materials within weeks.
FCC Environment, also known as Welbeck Waste Management Ltd (WWML), applied to Wakefield Council to extend the life of the site by two years.
Eleven members of the council’s planning and highways committee unanimously rejected the application at a meeting today (November 16).
The site, which has been in operation for more than 25 years, is due to be transformed into a country park.
Residents and protesters were given assurances it would finally close in December 2023.
The operator wants more time to fill the remaining capacity at the site due to a shortage of materials going to landfill.
Site manager Andrew Langan told the meeting that the operator would appeal the decision.
Welbeck has been in operation since 1998 amid claims of bad smells, harm to the land and pollution of the River Calder..
Objections to the time extension were submitted by local councillors, Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett, local residents and campaign group Residents Against Toxic Scheme (RATS).
Jack Hemingway, the council’s deputy leader with responsibility for the environment and climate change, told the meeting: “The landfill site has been in operation for more than two decades.
“It’s a story of promises made, of failures to predict waste levels, of extension after extension, far beyond the site’s originally planned operation.
“You have a chance to change that today – to turn something negative for our environment into a positive.
“As ward councillors we do not believe the extension in necessary or that a case has been made to justify it.
“This has had continued impact for residents who have reported dust, odour or pests.
“There is an impact on biodiversity.”
Coun Hemingway, who also represents Stanley and Outwood East ward, where the tip is situated said: “We are not blockers. We have sought to suggest alternatives.
“These appear to have been ignored, along with feedback from many residents.
“There are other options.
“Neither we nor the communities that we represent have any faith that the applicant will not simply return in two years time to request a further extension.
“Surely now is the time for the residents, who have for so long lived in the shadow of the landfill site, to see the promised restoration
Mark Jennings spoke on behalf of Normanton and Altofts residents.
Mr Jennings said 135 complaints had been made earlier this year over fly infestations at the site.
He said: “I am pleading with the committee today to see if you will stand by the community and surrounding areas and not allow this extension and allow us to build a biodiversity area for us all to enjoy.”
Council officers recommended the application for approval, describing it as a “minor extension of time.”
James Cook, representing the operator, said the amount of material going to landfill had reduced due to an increase in waste recycling facilities.Mr Cook said it meant the operator would not be able to restore the site within previously agree timeframes.
He added: “The scenario has been compounded by the covid pandemic, resulting in a further reduction in waste input.
“We recognise the need to close the site as soon as possible.
“However, we need to do this as in an environmentally considerate way.”
Reasons given for refusal included the impact of the tip on local residents and biodiversity.