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.