A Pembrokeshire landfill site that is ‘gas bombing’ local residents has been given until the middle of May to sort out the problem or face the possibility of losing its environmental permit.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has taken further enforcement action at Withyhedge Landfill site, setting out the urgent steps that must be taken by its operators to address the ongoing odour and landfill gas emission issues at the site.

This week’s odour problems have been described as ‘gas bombing’ by local residents who experienced the stink, thought to be hydrogen sulphide and other gasses at Haverfordwest High school and Withybush Hospital as well as in villages miles away from the site.

Western Telegraph: Campaigners have protested against odours coming from Withyhedge Landfill Site, with waste at theWaste at the landfill, pictured in 2022. Picture: Stop the Stink

Residents again reported bad headaches, asthmatic flare ups, coughing and feeling sick.

Natural Resources Wales announced today that it has issued site operators Resources Management UK Ltd (RML) with a further Regulation 36 Enforcement Notice which requires the operator to deliver a series of actions by specified deadlines.

The first deadline is this Sunday, April 21. The actions include implementing measures relating to gas management infrastructure, further capping of areas of the site, as well as improving interim cover arrangements as the work progresses.

Each of the steps outlined in the notice have to be completed by May 14, although the notice stipulates that the majority of the works will be required to be completed before May 8.

NRW states that the measures are intended to address the odour issues experienced by communities surrounding the site.

Western Telegraph: Stop the Stink Campaigners outside County Hall last week.Residents protest outside County Hall earlier this month. Picture: Western Telegraph

“While actions set out in the Section 36 Notice issued in February to prepare and cap a waste cell and install gas infrastructure to contain and collect landfill gases appear to have been completed, other possible areas on site where odour may be coming from have been identified by the site operator,” said a NRW spokesperson.

RML submitted their plans on how to resolve these issues last week and NRW used these submissions to frame the actions included in the new S36 notice.

A statement issued by the company today said that it had already started engineering work to address the issue.

“We share the frustrations of the local communities that these issues persist, and are extremely frustrated and disappointed that our work to this point has not remedied the situation as expected,” said a company spokesperson.

“We would seek to assure everyone affected by the odours that we will not rest until we have a permanent solution.”

NRW says that if the actions outlined in this new notice are not complied with, it will not hesitate to take further action and will consider all the regulatory tools available – including suspending the site’s environmental permit if necessary.

“NRW is taking additional enforcement action to ensure RML Ltd. takes the urgent action they have identified that is needed to get the odour issues at Withyhedge Landfill under control,” said Huwel Manley, NRW’s head of south west operations.

“We fully understand the growing discontent from the affected communities, and we feel that it is unacceptable for residents and visitors to the area to continue to be affected by these odour and landfill gas emissions.

“We want to reassure everyone that we are committed to ensuring RML Ltd. deliver the actions they have identified, and that they work quickly to bring this issue to a resolution.

“While the pressing work required by the operator progresses over the coming days and weeks, the site remains under investigation and we will continue our regulatory presence.

“Nothing is off the table. If the series of actions required in this notice are not complied with, we will have no hesitation to take further enforcement action, considering every option available to us under the regulations, including suspending the environmental permit if appropriate.”

Will Bramble, Pembrokeshire County Council Chief Executive, added: “We are extremely disappointed that RML, the company managing the Withyhedge landfill site, has not delivered the necessary action to stop the completely unacceptable odour emissions.

“We fully support the additional enforcement action being taken by NRW and continue to work closely with them to do all in our power to correct the situation.

"We also support the intent of NRW to take further action should it fail to meet the deadline set of May 14 – including considering taking action to suspend the permit.

“Geotechnology is carrying out monitoring under the direction of the air quality cell and liaising directly with residents affected.

“We will ensure the data is made available to the public at the earliest opportunity.”

NRW requests that instances of odour from the landfill continue to be reported at te time of them being experienced via: https://bit.ly/reportasmellwithyhedge.