The Bill makes the case for a presumption against planning applications for new landfill sites liable to cause odorous emissions in built-up areas; to set limits for odorous emissions from landfill sites; and, to make provision for the payment of compensation for site operators to local residents when emissions exceed those limits.
Local communities are often powerless in the face of distressing and persistent odours emanating from landfill sites and can endure many years of problems without sufficient action from the Environment Agency
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The Landfill Sites (Odorous Emissions) Bill is being introduced against the backdrop of the reopening of ‘Watsons Tip’ at Droppingwell in Rotherham. This particular landfill site has been described as one of the five most toxic tips in the U.K.
Residents across South Yorkshire fear that allowing work on this dangerous site will disturb its already fragile covering, exposing the toxins within including Asbestos, Cadmium and Chromium.
The Landfill Sites (Odorous Emissions) Bill would therefore aim to tackle this problem in three ways:
1) a presumption against new landfill sites in built-up areas;
2) tougher limits for odorous emissions from landfill sites, going beyond the current World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance;
3) a new framework for compensation where this new limit is exceeded.
Mr Stafford said: “The aim of this Bill is to address several problematic aspects of the current regulatory framework, and to stop what has happened in Rotherham from ever happening again.
“Watsons Tip should never have been permitted to become a landfill site, given its location in a residential area. Landfills should never be within 500 metres of housing.
“We must aspire to stricter limits on odour than the bare minimum currently prescribed by the World Health Organisation.
“Communities need to have their voices heard where landfills are causing persistent problems. This Bill would strengthen their rights and give the Environment Agency a much stronger hand in dealing with problems when they arise.”