Work at tip has to be finished, residents told

TIPPING at a landfill site near Warboys could resume by the autumn, if the owner gets a pollution control permit. A public meeting last week was told by the Environment Agency that there was not a do nothing option for the unfinished waste site at Puddo

TIPPING at a landfill site near Warboys could resume by the autumn, if the owner gets a pollution control permit.

A public meeting last week was told by the Environment Agency that there was not a "do nothing" option for the unfinished waste site at Puddocks Hill.

Woodford Waste Management, which owns the site, is applying for a licence to begin dumping non-hazardous materials. The Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit would allow Woodford to fill in the remaining empty cell at the site with 250,000 tonnes of waste.

The site has been an emotive issue for Warboys residents, many of whom felt let down by previous site owners, Fenside Waste Management, as well as the Environment Agency.

Fenside failed to gain permission to continue dumping hazardous waste. A lengthy legal challenge began, costing an estimated £1million, and ended with Fenside dropping the case and selling the site to Woodford.

On Friday, more than 100 people were at the WI Hall, in Warboys, to hear the current state of affairs and to hear if Woodford could convince them that its intentions are good for Warboys.

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Dr Henry Clemmey, of the Woodford Group, told the meeting: "Woodford is not, and never was, the cause of any past problems. We are here to solve the problem.

"There is no gain for us whatsoever if anything goes wrong at the site. We are liable and if Woodford caused a pollution problem, something it is our business not to do, I am in big trouble."

Dr Clemmey said Woodford was reducing levels of the toxic leachate substance at the site, an issue that was of concern to Warboys when Fenside controlled the land.

Woodford managing director Mark Farren said the type of waste planned for cell six would include plastics and cardboard, but not waste that would attract birds.

The meeting heard that most details on Woodford's PPC application had been ironed out, and that the proposal was expected to be ratified.

David Atkinson, minerals and waste planning manager at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "Woodford's proposals are compliant with the planning consent and the county has communicated this view to the Environment Agency." Huntingdonshire District Council has not lodged an objection.

He said the county council was considering measures to reduce noise disturbance caused by the large dumper trucks delivering to the site.

John Orr, Environment Agency manager for the Brampton region, said: "I can understand that many of you will feel let down by the Environment Agency in the past, but now it is time to look forward.

"There is no 'do nothing' option. You have a partially-completed site that, if nothing is done, will remain unstable."

Woodford also pledged that money owed to the Warboys Landfill Action Group (WARLAG) following the withdrawal of Fenside Waste Management's legal appeal would be paid.

Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire, who was chairing the meeting, said: "There is still room for disagreement but there is a reasonable amount of agreement in the room.

"The Environment Agency has come in for a lot of justified criticism in the past but we hope they will take the criticism and make sure mistakes are not repeated.

"There is a long way to go yet, but we are getting there."

Following the meeting, Betty Ball, chairman of the WARLAG pressure group, said: "We want the permit to go ahead but we want it to be stronger in terms of monitoring and checking.

"Don't forget there is hazardous waste already at the site and we must make sure it is properly managed.

"We want as much protection for the village of Warboys as is possible."

INFORMATION: The consultation process on Woodford's PPC application ends on August 13. A special meeting to determine Warboys Parish Council's response will be held on Monday, August 6.