AFTER a two-year wrangle, the dumping of non-hazard waste is to start at Warboys tip. Woodford Waste Management, the company that has taken over the Puddock Hill site, was last week granted a permit by the Environment Agency to dump non-hazardous waste. T
AFTER a two-year wrangle, the dumping of non-hazard waste is to start at Warboys tip.
Woodford Waste Management, the company that has taken over the Puddock Hill site, was last week granted a permit by the Environment Agency to dump non-hazardous waste.
The Pollution Prevention and Control permit will allow Woodford to fill the remaining capacity of the site and also requires the firm to make a number of improvements.
However, the granting of a permit may not end the 10-year protest which villagers first organised to stop toxic waste being dumped at Warboys.
While the dumping of toxic waste will not be allowed, residents and councilors are concerned that the toxic waste already at the site may leak into the water system.
The Environment Agency, which granted the permit, has said that a system of "hydraulic containment" will keep any leaks of dangerous waste within the site.
The villagers - and experts - dispute this and believe there is potential for leaks (known as leachate, the process where the toxic materials condense into a liquid form).
Ian Smith, chief executive of the Middle Level Commissioners (responsible for water in the Warboys area) told The Hunts Post: "We are concerned about leachate from the site.
"A consultant was asked whether the waste could be contained and the answer was yes - but the question he should have been asked is whether it is being contained now.
"The board's view is that the site is on a steep gradient and we are concerned that leaks will get into the water system and the Forty Foot fishing area."
Mr Smith said that there was confidence in the consultant, but that there was "contention over the questions he has been asked".
Betty Ball, chairman of the Warboys Landfill Action Group, the group which won the battle to stop toxic waste being taken at the tip, added that villagers had not realised until recently that some of the cells on the site containing waste were not lined.
As well as containment, Warboys Parish Council has also expressed anxiety over other outstanding issues, including the routes taken by traffic using the site.
In a statement the council said: "We are continuing to press Cambridgeshire County Council to set up the promised weight limit for the village not only to keep landfill vehicles from the High Street, but also all the other heavy vehicles which use the village as a rat run."
The parish council is also concerned about an application by Woodford to infill (with waste) an area at the site excavated without permission by the site' previous owners, Fenside Waste.
For the past two years, the villagers, the site operators and the Environment Agency have met in a forum to reach an agreement on the future of the site.
The Environment Agency has said the forums would continue to help ensure the site is monitored and concerns are dealt with.
John Orr, from the EA, said: "The site will be improved and rigorously monitored and the environment will be properly protected into the future.
"Getting to this point has been a long, hard journey for all involved but I am convinced that this is the best way forward to deal with the site and protect the environment for the people of Warboys."
He added: "We recognise that some members of the Warboys Landfill Forum (the villagers and their experts) still have serious reservations about aspects of the permit, but I am confident that as the forum continues its robust scrutiny of the Environment Agency and the site operator, those reservations will decrease."
The Environment Agency says it expects the operators to take three years to fill the remaining landfill space at the site.
Woodford took over the site from previous operators Fenside Waste Management.
Fenside had applied for permission to use the remaining cells at the site for hazardous waste but were turned down five years ago by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Fenside's appeal was also turned down following a public inquiry in which the firm's case was so poorly put that it was criticised by the inspector.
The inquiry was abandoned and the site changed hands.