Homes ‘smell like rotten eggs’ as stench from landfill overwhelms Lancashire town

29 May 2024, 14:41 | Updated: 30 May 2024, 10:33

A landfill stench has been drifting across the Lancashire town
A landfill stench has been drifting across the Lancashire town. Picture: Supplied

By Chris Chambers

People living near to a landfill site in Fleetwood, Lancashire, have told LBC they have become prisoners in their own homes because of a horrific smell clouding their neighbourhoods.

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The Transwaste site on Jameson Road has been heavily criticised for allowing the stench to drift across the area, with locals saying they are waking up in the night unable to breathe.

The landfill site is half a mile from a caravan park and multiple holiday lets, with a college campus, primary school and nature reserve within a mile radius. Thousands of homes are within a stones-throw of the site, along with supermarkets, football clubs and parks.

Jess Brown is part of the group, Action Against Jameson Road: "It literally smells like rotten eggs, gas, onions and you can even taste it.

"It gets into your homes with the windows and doors closed, it's affecting their breathing, headaches, children are ending up in A&E, people are scared to bring their newborn babies home and it's affecting people's mental health.

"People are not leaving their houses as much, it's exacerbating people's health problems, they're not being able to leave their homes, leave their gardens, walk their animals, their mental health is being impacted and some people have even been suicidal.

"If it was me going round to someone's house and gassing their house, it would be taken seriously. But Wyre Borough Council are not taking it seriously.

"It's just disgusting the way the landfill workers are dealing with it. They just think it's a joke in all honesty, they're really not nice people."

Lorraine Beavers is a local councillor, she told LBC: "This smell is indescribable. It's a smell of bad eggs, rotten onions and a mixture of waste, and you can taste it.

"The worst time is 1am until about 6am, that's when the smell comes and it's absolutely horrendous. It's affecting the whole area. Last Saturday at 5.30am I had to get up, opened the back door and it's unbelievable the smell, I can't tell you how bad it is.

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"We can't breathe at night-time, we can't leave our windows open, the community's had enough.

"When it's the waste smell, it's like sticking your head into a waste bin and breathing that smell in constantly. The methane gasses coming off it, it's methane but there's another smell. Chemicals used to be dumped here a long time ago, and it's indescribable.

"Once you open your doors and let it in you can't get it out. People can't hang their washing out because it's smelling. It takes people's breath away. If you have any form of anxiety and something's taking your breath away, when you're asleep people are stopping breathing. These are people with serious health concerns who can't have a window open. This is how people are having to live."

"There are people with breathing difficulties like COPD, the first thing you do when you smell it is take a breath, and these people can't do that. They feel like the pandemic is here again because they can't leave their homes.

"Wyre Council told me they were onto this, and they were going to take action. They've had over 7,000 phone calls but they've done absolutely nothing.

LBC has contacted Transwaste.

Wyre Council said in a statement: “We are very aware of the situation at the landfill site and are working hard with our partners to resolve this issue.

“The current focus of this multi-agency approach is to ensure that the site fully complies with the environmental permit, and regulatory notices have been served. This is considered the best way to deal with the issue, hold the operator to account and stop unacceptable impact on the community.”

The council said it had received a total of 540 complaints so far but said that some of them were repeat complaints from affected residents.

The Environment Agency has now put in place an order restricting the amount of waste being allowed onto the site. In a statement to LBC, they said:

"An Enforcement Notice was served to Transwaste on April 9 requiring steps to address permit breaches by 15th May. Following this deadline, we carried out onsite assessments to establish if this notice had been complied with.

"We have determined that the operator has not met the requirements of that notice and we have taken time to consider further regulatory action as a result. As a result, we have issued a Regulation 37 Enforcement Notice in line with our Enforcement and Sanction Policy.

"The notice has steps requiring additional temporary capping of the landfill within 6 weeks. That notice does suspend the acceptance of waste for direct landfilling until the further work to reduce the risk of landfill gas emission and odour impact is delivered by Transwaste.

"Some covering material for example waste inert soils can be imported onto the site for the specific use in construction of the temporary capping and cover. We will be on site regularly to ensure no breach of the new notice.

"We expect the operator to comply with the conditions of their environmental permit, to better manage risk on site and stop unacceptable impacts on the local community and the environment.

"We continue to work closely with Wyre Borough Council, Lancashire County Council, and the UK Health Security Agency to ensure compliance, provide community guidance, and support residents.

"We are monitoring the site closely, carrying out daily odour assessments and hydrogen sulphide monitoring. Recent results show levels of hydrogen sulphide above normal background levels that are detectable by the human nose but are low."

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