Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Are those lights from a 'piste machine' on a ski slope or just Gilberdyke's Landfill Mountain?

I heard an interesting comment from a Gilberdyke resident over the weekend, “I feel like I’m on a skiing holiday, when every evening I look across to see a piste machine battering the ski slopes of the mountain over there.”

Needless to say he was referring to the lights from the machinery working on the Gilberdyke Tip, which has grown to such heights to be frankly laughable, if it was not so serious.

I recently chaired a difficult meeting of the Tip Liaison Committee when it was confirmed that the tip has recently changed hands and is now both owned and operated by City Plant Ltd, it was also established that the operators had deliberately breached the planning conditions by tipping at considerable heights above the permitted 8.0m level, with the reality being that the company have actually tipped to a level which has effectively doubled the permitted height, and they had recently breached the Environment Agency permit regarding mud on the roads surrounding the site. But most worryingly, due to ‘misunderstandings during the planning process’ the community was now faced with a further two years tipping to fill or perhaps overfill the site rather than the one year envisaged.

The City Plant Ltd consultant, Kevin Wanlass, was asked when the levels of the tip would be reduced to the permitted height; I was very disturbed to have my fears confirmed that instead of reducing the tip height to the permitted 8m level, the operators are likely to submit a planning application to maintain the existing levels. I view this as a disgraceful, deliberate and cynical ploy on the part of City Plant Ltd, and I will be consulting with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) to take appropriate action to make the height of the tip compliant as soon as possible.

I made it quite clear that I was not happy for anything other than the permitted heights to be met on the site and it was highly unlikely that anything other than this would be supported by the local community.

Fellow community representative and Newport Parish Council Chairman Roy Hunt and I also raised the issue of mud on the roads from the tip, namely Newport’s Leatherdog Lane and Thimblehall Lane, and the many complaints received. It was confirmed that many calls of complaint had been received by the ERYC, the Environment Agency and the Parish Council; it was interesting that one of the tip representatives said it was only muddy on one day; this was robustly challenged and contradicted by Roy Hunt, who confirmed that he’d witnessed and had photographs of mud on a number of consecutive days.

I find the mud on the road to be totally unacceptable, and subsequent to the meeting rode along the roads, and witnessed the crude attempts at wheel washing by the operators. I raised this issue again with the Environment Agency the following week and demanded action. It was later confirmed that on 20th December an enforcement notice on City Plant Ltd was issued for a breach of the permit conditions relating to mud. Failure to comply with the notice by the end of January will be an offence, which I am hoping will spur City Plant Ltd into installing proper facilities as soon as possible to stop the mud leaving the site rather than trying to clean the roads with road-sweepers afterwards. It seems incredible that this site was allowed to continue to operate after the previous facilities were removed with the obvious impact on road users, particularly during wet weather.

The operators have installed gas collection equipment on the tip, including a new gas flare at the site entrance, although very welcome as this should reduce some of the foul stink emanating from the site, the gas flare was installed without planning consent.

Clarification was also sought regarding lorries NOT using the site weighbridge, it was alleged by City Plant Ltd. that all lorries entering the site to tip waste passed over the weighbridge, although lorries bringing material to the site for engineering operations would not as they were not delivering waste. Further clarification was sought on this by the community representatives because of multiple claims that lorries were seen entering and leaving the site without passing over the weighbridge either on entry or exit.

It was established that any complaints from residents about the operation of the tip should be made to the Environment Agency by telephone on 0800 807060.

The issue of site working outside the permitted hours of operation was also raised. I stated that it would be a lot better for the local community if the company could let people know what was happening on the site and what measures they were being taken to resolve any problems. A pro-active as opposed to a re-active approach should be promoted. The Council Planning Officer said that the operators should let the local Council know if they were planning on doing any work outside the parameters of the planning permission. This could then be shared with community representatives and agreement reached before the activity took place.


Roy Hunt said...

The photograph of mud flowing down through a gate is actually the main entrance to the site, and the foreground is a road used by the general public to access a house and office complex. Delightful.

There are so many issues with this site. How was it that a "false prospectus" was given to the planning committee from which they approved the latest planning application? How is it that the decision cannot, as a result, be recalled? How is it that the Environment Agency (EA) can transfer the tipping licence to the new owners when the tip is way above permitted levels and there is no wheel washing facility. In another case, a company lost their approval to tip because their wheel washing facility wasn't sufficient to virtually eliminate the egress of mud onto the road, but here we have it ooozing out and the EA seem happy for them to carry on tipping. Even after the breach notice was issued, the lorries were still spreading mud almost a mile from the site all over roads, pavements, pedestrians, fences and house fronts.

What about the schoolchildren who can no longer walk to school in wet weather because the lorries will cover them with mud as they pass?

Why oh why do no normal rules seem to apply to this site. How is it that a company who so deliberately break so many of the rules by which they are required to work are left untouched by the authorities for so long?

Don't blame the operator. If the enforcement is so terribly weak, they are bound to take advantage because it costs money to keep to the rules and even if enforcement notices are issued, the system can allow the operator to delay effective action for months or years through systems of appeal.

The local residents want this site to be closed down until it is compliant. Is that unreasonable?

Anonymous said...

As someone who is directly affected by the Gilberdyke Landfill site (I have to live and work alongside it), I would like to sincerely thank both Roy Hunt and Paul Robinson for the considerable efforts they are making in trying to ensure this site is compliant with its landfill permit and planning consents. I know Roy has worked tirelessly on this matter - really above and beyond what could be expected from his voluntary role within the Newport Parish Council. I believe the local community should be very grateful for the amount of time Roy and Paul have taken out of their lives to try and resolve the considerable and difficult problems associated with this landfill site.
Kevin Clifford

Anonymous said...

I hear that the operator want to ask the environmental agency increase annual tipping inputs up to 200,000 tonnes per year.

stig of the dump said...

The tip operators are raping our communities and no one is doing anything to stop it.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness that you have cleared up what those lights 40m off the ground are......fearing a UFO invasion I was in the process of getting my gun to shoot down the Aliens *Independence Day* style. Could have been nasty for the piste basher operator! Who would expect one of those to be operating so high in the sky in the Vale of York?

Thimblehall Road Resident said...

Well done to Roy Hunt, Kevin Clifford and you Paul - thanks for your efforts today from East Riding Mail newspaper, to Radio Humberside, to Look North and Calendar - You've done us pround

Tracy said...

Thanks to everyone for their efforts and we had an excellent ten minutes of fame. However I would like to know if the Council have started enforcement procedures yet?

Dennis said...

Good question Tracy. Anyone got an answer?

John in Gilberdyke said...

According to the east riding mail ERYC have finally fired the opening salvo. Its up to the community to keep the pressure onto the council as there is no way the process can be allowed to slow down or coast to a stop.
Common sense should dictate that no more waste should go into the site until the present heap is brought down to the correct level otherwise we could see the additional volume cause even more grief by being brought out again.