Thursday, February 02, 2012

What happens if the Gilberdyke Tip operators walk away from the site?

In view of the Environment Agency issuing the enforcement notice against the Gilberdyke Tip owners City Plant Ltd. it raises the question as to what happens if the Directors decide in view of the action, to fold the company or walk away from the site?

This has concerned me for a while and is something I have raised on a number of occasions after the scenario was first mentioned by residents. After some investigation, answers from City Plant Ltd. and input from the Environment Agency (EA), it would seem that if the City Plant Ltd. Directors were to walk away from the site or folded the company for whatever reason, there is financial provision of up to £1.2 million for the tip to be capped off, restored and maintained as required - but is it adequate, and if not is there an asset value to the tip?

The basis of the provision is found in the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 [SI 2007 3538] with reference to Waste Management licensing and pollution prevention and control regimes from 6th April 2008.

The owner or applicant for an Environmental Permit (EP) must be able to provide adequate financial provision to meet the obligations of the permit. Some of these sites can include landfill with aftercare costs for a period of up to sixty years after closure.

Part of the solution can include a security bond, which provides an indemnity for the amount specified by the EA as 'financial provision'. The bond is not required if the client has sufficient 'upfront' funds. In the case of the Gilberdyke Landfill site approximately £650,000 is invested in a FillSecure bond, which has the potential to generate income to cover costs of approximately £1.2million. The FillSecure solution has been approved by the Environment Agency for ‘general application, and consists of a funding arrangement suitable for the cost effective management of financial provisions as required under EP permits to satisfy the long-term aftercare requirement, as well as operational and restoration costs’.

It is my understanding that unless this ‘financial provision’ had been put in place December’s transfer of the Environmental Permit from the previous owner to City Plant Ltd would not have taken place or been ratified by the Environment Agency. It has been confirmed that the Agency took the opportunity to revise the ‘financial provision’ to regularise the costs and to ensure that due to the changes in the site infrastructure and environmental requirements/guidance, any after care costs would be covered.

I am confident that in the event something does happen with City Plant Ltd, monies are available to the Environment Agency from this fund for the tip to be capped off, restored and maintained BUT is this amount of ‘financial provision’ based on the conditions of the EA permit, and since the height of the tip is way over, and in breach of the approved height limits as detailed in the permit, therefore is this provision now adequate?

The tip itself may not have a physical asset value but the methane gas caught within and being constantly produced for a significant number of years to come certainly does have a value, especially if it can be used to power electric generators to produce clean renewable energy like we see at other landfill sites. It is therefore reassuring that not only is there a significant bond in place, there appears to be a very saleable asset which should ensure the tips long term future care and maintenance.


Anonymous said...

Great coverage in both Goole Times and East Riding Mail 2nd Feb. We need to keep this pot boiling and may need to follow the admirable method example set by STOP in spaldington with fundraising to engage legal support if appeals or revised planning applications materialise.

Gazza said...

Since the EA announced that tipping operations will cease on Feb 14th until
the owners of the tip conform to the agreed permits. It maybe my perception,
but there seems to be more Lorries going to the tip.
It seems like the owners of the pit are trying to get as many loads as they can before the deadline.

John in Gilberdyke said...

Yes, there is methane but in the form of landfill gas. This can be a mixture of predominately methane and carbon dioxide along with other "nasties ". Included in the nasties are hydrogen sulphide which is a cumulative poison. Also present can be a number of volatiles and products of plastic decomposition. Burning these requires careful control of temperature. I understand that the use of landfill gas in engines does not always meet the required temperature conditions and the exhaust can contain dioxin and furans both of which are poisons, and which have been linked with birth defects. According to the World Health Organisation there is no safe level of human ingestion of some of these products.

Considering the shoddy treatment of our community over the past year or so, I would demand reassurances from the operators that they do have concerns for the health of the tip's neighbours when it comes to burning off the gases, and further than this is the enclosed flare in operation on site at the moment safe? The EA are supposed to monitor the flare performance. Are they in fact so doing?

Anonymous said...

John in Gilberdyke raises a very serious point about emissions. The people of bonnybridge would no doubt add much to this. Apparently the link to deformities was not proven but after the incinerator shut the problem seems to have faded away.
Cases of deformity and health problems seem to occur everywhere there is a large tipping operation. The tip operators cannot hide from the internet.

concerned about our ecology said...

We are faced with the waste from miles away causing us and our children pollution problems for years to come. I have looked up landfill gas on the internet and it seems to have more downside than up. The least harmful way of dealing with it seems to be cleaning it and pumping it into the gas grid.
Does British gas allow such means of disposing of it?