Our response to the issues at Walleys Quarry
The University has been engaging regularly with the chief executives of both Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council and others to express our concern about Walleys Quarry and the impact that it is having locally.
We will continue to engage with key authorities with regard to this matter to limit the impact on our campus community and the local area, as well as carrying out associated academic research.
What is Walleys Quarry?
Walleys Quarry is a landfill site located near the centre of Newcastle-under-Lyme, approximately 1.5 miles from Keele University. There have been concerns about odours from the site affecting the immediately adjacent communities for some time, with an increase in the frequency of complaints in late 2020 and into 2021, and also occasionally further away from the site including on the Keele campus.
On campus, the odour is not permanently present, and when it does reach Keele it tends to be present in specific pockets of campus depending on the prevailing weather conditions. The odour usually dissipates fairly quickly compared to those areas immediately around the landfill site.
As such, the University has been engaging in a multi-agency response to tackle the problem and support our residents and communities who are affected by the issue.
What is the Environment Agency doing about it?
The Environment Agency (EA) regulates compliance with the environmental permit held by Walleys Quarry Landfill.
The EA is monitoring air quality in the area, and has put in place and is supporting a multi-agency response to deal with the current odour issues. The EA has instructed Walleys Quarry to manage the odour and landfill gas coming from the site, and is challenging the site operator.
Towards the end of February 2021, the EA installed two specialist mobile monitoring facilities, and in April 2021 a further two monitoring facilities were installed, to support a multi-agency response to the issues at Walleys Landfill. This monitoring will remain in place until the end of August 2021.
In July 2021, the EA stated: "We are doing everything within our regulatory powers to stop landfill gas emissions escaping from the site and impacting local people. As regulator, we will not stop until the operator effectively manages the odour from its operations." The EA also served CLP Envirogas Ltd (a subcontractor of Walleys Quarry Ltd) a notice to supply them with more detailed monitoring information about the operation of the gas utilisation plant by the 25th August 2021.
Sign up for EA alerts
Weekly updates from the Environment Agency, including air quality monitoring data, can be found on their dedicated web pages, and you can also subscribe to be sent these via email.
What is Keele University doing about the issue?
Over the past few months we have engaged with the Environment Agency, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, and Staffordshire County Council on multiple occasions, to express our concern at this odour and the impact that it is having locally.
We have also set up our own reporting tool to gain further insight into any odours on campus and to get a better picture of their strength and occurrence, and how they may impact campus life, so that the University has adequate knowledge in order to assist its dialogue with external agencies about this problem, and to support our campus community.
Associated academic research at Keele
In addition to our engagement with public bodies on this matter to support our community, we’re also carrying out academic research to investigate whether environmental issues can have an impact on primary care consultation patterns for potentially relevant symptoms or health conditions, with results expected in 2022.
Report a concern about Walleys Quarry
If you live on campus, to help us monitor the situation and support our engagement with the above bodies, please complete this form citing the time, date, location and severity of the smell on campus.
Please note that this form is not a replacement for logging complaints with the Environment Agency and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, which you should continue to do as needed (the EA have requested that people do not use the 'FixMyStreet' app to report concerns).
We will continue to review the submissions to our form and raise our concerns with the Council and Environment Agency as appropriate.
If you live off campus and have been affected by Walleys Quarry, you can report concerns to the Environment Agency and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council. If you live in Stoke-on-Trent, you can report concerns to Stoke Council.
Additional mental health support
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) is offering additional mental health support for residents experiencing emotional distress due to the odours coming from the quarry.
The service, provided by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) in partnership with North Staffs Mind and Changes Health and Wellbeing is open to those aged 16 and over who live or work in close proximity to the site in Silverdale.
People can access this support through the Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent Wellbeing Service by calling 0300 303 0923 or visiting www.staffsandstokewellbeing.nhs.uk, where an online self-referral can be made.