Posted on Monday 17th May 2021
Residents affected by the terrible odours in Newcastle are being asked to complete a daily survey detailing any health problems.
Public health leaders are hoping thousands of entries will provide deeper understanding of the scale, location and nature of the health problems and build evidence to support future regulation of Walleys Quarry.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:
“Residents affected by this awful smell have been going through a terrible time, feeling trapped in their own homes and as the body responsible for public health we are determined to do all we can to help.
“Residents have already submitted thousands of ‘impact statements’ to Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, in which they report the effects on their physical and mental health over a period of time.
“The purpose of this survey is to allow more detailed analysis about the number of people affected and the sort of health problems they are experiencing.
It will also include information about what’s happening at specific times which we can compare to air quality monitoring data.
“The more people who take part, the better the analysis will be.”
People can find the survey here
The daily questionnaire is divided into six-hour periods and residents are asked to give their post code, report the strength of the smell and how it is affecting them – either physically, through disrupted sleep, or in other ways.
Alan White added:
“We fully recognise that living day after day with nausea, headaches, or sore eyes is a terrible state of affairs and can affect residents’ mental health and wellbeing.
“We understand their anger and distress and, like them, want this problem resolved.”
As well as this project, which will continue until the problem is resolved, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is taking odours readings round-the-clock from 20 specific homes in the area, and both councils have part-funded the installation of additional air quality monitors managed by the Environment Agency.
Simon Tagg, Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said:
“Communities across Newcastle continue to suffer because of this landfill.
“Not enough has been done by the regulator or operator to resolve the issues and what has been done has not resulted in any improvement.
“I would like to encourage everyone who is being affected by this dreadful smell and have had their lives and heath affected by it to please take part in this survey. Every single person’s experience is important and we need to know about it.”
A spokesperson for the Health Protection Team at Public Health England (PHE) Midlands, said:
“Public Health England appreciates the ongoing situation concerning strong odours in areas around Walleys Quarry Landfill must be very distressing for residents. PHE is providing expert analysis on the Environment Agency’s air quality data and working with Staffordshire County Council and the local NHS to quantify the impact on the health and wellbeing of residents, to inform any further action by the regulators.
We understand that people are experiencing symptoms such as nausea, headaches and dizziness, along with problems sleeping and impacts to mental wellbeing, contributing to stress and anxiety. We will be supporting the analysis of the data to be gathered from Staffordshire County Council’s new online surveillance tool, to look at impacts on physical and mental health.”