Demand to close Greater Manchester landfill due to 'vile stench' impacting local residents

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Councillors in Rochdale have demanded a landfill is closed after receiving “substantial complaints” from residents who are worried about the impact of the smell coming from the site. Pilsworth South Landfill, next to the M66 between Bury and Heywood, is giving off smells so bad that “residents are reporting gagging”, Councillor Angela Brown told a full council meeting at Rochdale this week (Wednesday, December 13).

She raised a motion, which was carried unanimously, demanding councillors join residents in calling for the site to be closed and for the concerns to be investigated. It asked the council to “support the residents of the borough calling for the landfill to be closed and capped off as soon as practicable and before the expiration of the current permit, and the operator to have enforcement action taken against them to resolve the concerns of residents”.

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Cllr Brown said: “People need to know what these smells are, what they are inhaling. Even if it’s not harmful, we need to know what the government is doing to stop residents’ lives being impacted.”

She added that the council has “pleaded for help” from Chris Clarkson, Conservative MP for Heywood and Middleton, but that they have received “absolutely nothing”.

Cllr John Taylor, leader of Rochdale Conservative group, highlighted Conservative parliamentary candidate for the new Heywood and Middleton North seat, Laura-Beth Thompson, for her work on the issue, adding that he is “pleased the Labour group has picked up on this”.

An online petition demanding an investigation into the smell has been signed by more than 1,300 people. It states that residents are unable to put their washing out or enjoy their gardens due to the odour.

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East Middleton Cllr Dylan Williams claimed the stench is the “most disgusting smell” he has ever smelt.

He said: “Following a campaign session in Middleton, we drove near the landfill site. It is absolutely vile. We did campaign sessions in Heywood last year and it was brought up then. Residents are saying they can smell that horrific smell even all the way in Middleton. I feel sorry for all our residents that live near that landfill and have to smell it, it’s not right at all.”

An image of Pilsworth South Landfill from Google Maps. Copyright: Google Maps.An image of Pilsworth South Landfill from Google Maps. Copyright: Google Maps.
An image of Pilsworth South Landfill from Google Maps. Copyright: Google Maps.

Mr Clarkson said he has responded to every email from Cllr Brown about the issue, and recently shared an update following discussions with the Environment Agency on behalf of local residents.

He said: “My office keeps a clear record of all communications. She [Cllr Brown] has received a response to every email we have received from her, both as a constituent and as a councillor. 13 in total. Every resident who has contacted me directly on this matter, including Coun Brown, has had responses and updates.”

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An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Our investigations are currently ongoing into recent odour issues at a site in Pilsworth. We are using the regulatory powers available to us to resolve this issue.

“We would like to thank members of the community who have reported odours to us. Members of the public can report odour to our 24/7 incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”

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