March Finmere Odour Update

The following update has just been released by the Environment Agency.  It is important that you continue to report any odours on the emergency freephone number 0800 80 70 60

EA Update 9th March 2020:

The following briefing note has been prepared to provide an update in relation to concerns about odours from Finmere Landfill. It should be read in conjunction with briefing notes dated December 2019, January 2020 and February 2020. 

Current Situation 

In February we issued the operator with an Enforcement Notice requiring them to have an independent assessment of the gas collection system completed and an independent survey to identify any potential fugitive emissions of landfill gas from the site. Due to the strong winds experienced across the country in February the operator was unable to complete the fugitive emissions survey as it requires a wind speed of less than 10mph to be effective. As a result we have agreed a new deadline for this work and the report is now due to be submitted to us by 15 March. The independent assessment of the gas collection system was completed and submitted on 28 February. The report recommended a number of steps the operator could take that would improve gas collection and thereby help to reduce the potential for off-site odours. We have asked the operator to provide a plan detailing how and when they intend to implement these recommendations by Monday 9 March. Once we receive this plan we are minded to issue a further Enforcement Notice to implement it. 

Advice from Public Health England (PHE) 

We have continued to liaise with PHE and shared the raw data from our MMF. Their health advice remains the same as previously provided: 

The human nose is very sensitive to odours and often detects odorous chemicals at concentrations in air which pose no risk to health, however it is acknowledged that chronic environmental odours can be unpleasant and affect wellbeing. 

Odours can cause nuisance amongst the population possibly leading to stress and anxiety. Some people may experience symptoms such as nausea, headaches or dizziness, as a reaction to odours even when the substances that cause those smells are themselves not harmful to health.” 

Next Steps 

Environment Agency officers continue to attend the site on a regular basis to assess the impacts of odour and look for additional measures that can be taken by the operator. We have noted a reduction in the level and frequency of odours and we anticipate this trend will continue with any additional work undertaken by the operator. Please be assured that we continue to review all options open to us and the operator to bring these odours under control and this matter is being treated as a priority. 

This incident is subject to an ongoing investigation which may result in enforcement action, so we cannot disclose further details relating to the cause at this time.