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?
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 year (2021/22), the University has been working with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and their solicitors to support their legal action against the operator of Walleys Quarry.
We're pleased to advise that following an intensive mediation process, the Borough Council has now reached an agreement with the operator or Walleys Quarry and an "Abatement Notice" is now in place requiring Walleys Quarry to abate the odour nuisance, and to prevent a re-occurrence. The agreement also affords the community access to information about activities on the site.
The Borough Council has thanked us for the significant time and effort that we put into supporting the case, with our evidence together with that from other partners and residents being key to having this Abatement Notice officially ratified by the court.
More detail, including Frequently Asked Questions, can be found on the Council’s website that provides details on the agreement and also provides information relating to the next steps.
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.