Thursday, September 29, 2022

News: Council considering vote of no confidence in Environment Agency


Rotherham Council is set to discuss whether to put forward a vote of no confidence in the Environment Agency (EA) over its handling of the controversial reopening of Droppingwell tip.

When landfilling operations ceased at the Kimberworth site, the planning permission and environmental permit allowing landfilling activity in January 1978 remained in place. The EA granted a permit variation in 2016 which allows for 150,000 tonnes of inert waste to be imported, and 55,000 tonnes of waste for restoration, each year.

The permit variation imposed a range of conditions that must be complied with, before any deposit of waste will be allowed. These include groundwater and landfill gas monitoring requirements, the construction of engineered bunds and a system to collect and treat surface water.

The last update from EA in July 2022 was that the site was "pre-operational" whilst permit holders, Grange Landfill Ltd, installed engineered infrastructure to meet the requirements of the Landfill Directive to ensure that the proposed landfill activity at this site will not impact on the local environment.

The necessary engineering works for the first waste cell on Grange Landfill were almost complete in July, and the EA said that it expected the submission of a validation report sometime during August 2022.

Numerorus issues have been raised by the community regarding the operations. Opponents say that "works carry on, without the proper level of scrutiny and regulation of the Environment agency. This has led to dozens of complaints that have been escalated to stage 2 and several are now sitting with the office of the parliamentary ombudsmen."

At full council next week, local councillors, Ian Jones and Rob Elliott have put forward a motion regarding the EA.

Councillors are being asked to vote on whether the council believes that: "Due to the ineffective nature of the Environment Agencies regulation, its inability to take any kind of enforcement action, the members of the public in Rotherham West and this council no longer have any confidence in the Environment Agency."

It adds: "Mirroring the thoughts and wishes of the residents of Droppingwell, Blackburn and Kimberworth, this council should pass a motion of No Confidence in the Environment Agencies [sic] handling of the site.

"That the Chief Executive be required to write to the head of the Environment Agency and the Government minister impressing on them the need for a full, open and transparent public enquiry into the re-permitting and ongoing lack of regulation of the site."

The Council has previously said that it had exhausted all options in regard to how it could prevent the activity that was going on at Droppingwell Tip. The Government has also confirmed that it will not intervene in the planning issue at Droppingwell and use powers to revoke or discontinue the planning permission and to fund any compensation claims.

Images: Google Maps


Anonymous,  September 30, 2022 at 10:19 AM  

Hope the EA responds with a vote of no confidence the RMBC planning department!

Problems like this are of the Council's own making. It seems that they want to hold everyone else to account apart from themselves. The simple solution? Surely RMBC holds the powers to withdraw planning permission and order a cease and desist.

But of course they'll only realise they can take action themselves when Whiston is under water and they've managed to fill the previous green belt with warehousing. Due to the short sighted decisions they have made.

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