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Legal advice sought to address Withyhedge landfill enforcement

Ceisio cyngor cyfreithiol i fynd i'r afael â gorfodaeth safle tirlenwi Withyhedge

Pembrokeshire County Council has sought legal advice and is contemplating legal proceedings against Withyhedge Landfill operators RML, in regards to the ongoing odour issues at the site.

The Council intends to ask the Court for an injunction requiring RML to abate the public nuisance odour arising from the landfill. Failure to comply with the injunction would be contempt of court, which carries a penalty of up to two years’ imprisonment and unlimited fine.

Following significant work undertaken by RML the Authority is disappointed that the problem has not been resolved and residents continue to be impacted by the odour.

Working in collaboration with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Public Health Wales (PHW), we fully appreciate that the communities affected cannot tolerate this any longer.

NRW announced that the first set of deadlines for the completion of actions to tackle the ongoing odour issues at Withyhedge Landfill have been met, one week on following the issuing of further enforcement action on 18th April. 

This will be closely monitored by NRW to ensure the operator complies with all the actions set out in Notice by 14 May.

It was deemed appropriate to wait until the operator had carried out mitigation to comply with the enforcement requirements by NRW prior to considering this additional action.

To that end, on 26th April 2024, the Council served RML with a letter of claim and invited them to give legally binding undertakings to abate the odour nuisance or face legal proceedings. The Council also asked for disclosure of documents relevant to the proceedings, including records of waste brought in or removed from the landfill.

The Council has given RML until 14th May 2024 to respond to its letter of claim. This aligns with the current deadline set by NRW under its enforcement notice.

Pembrokeshire County Council Chief Executive Will Bramble welcomed the move. He said: “We are extremely disappointed that RML has not delivered the necessary action to stop the completely unacceptable smells from the site.

“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.

"Our intention to ask the Court for an injunction requiring RML to stop the odour nuisance arising from the landfill, is another part of our collaborative approach. The smell from Withyhedge is having a major impact on residents and visitors. This situation has gone on too long and it is unacceptable.”