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Monday, April 22, 2024

Residents demand action over ‘rotten eggs’ stench from Aschcourt Quarry: Health concerns rise

The putrid stench has emanated from Aschcourt Quarry, near Newton Aycliffe,

Residents have demanded answers on the ongoing smell of “rotten eggs” from a nearby quarry.

The putrid stench has emanated from Aschcourt Quarry, near Newton Aycliffe, and has wafted its way across to the northern part of Darlington. Concerns over the cause of the smell were first reported in 2023 and residents battled to get answers from local authorities.

Ashcourt’s landfill site was identified by the Environment Agency late last year as being the source of a methane smell seeping from gas wells. Residents in nearby communities have hosted public meetings to tackle the odour, which has been described as “beyond a joke”.

A Brafferton resident previously described how the smell continuously lingers in the village.

“It gets worse at night, and it fills the house – you simply cannot get it out and it absolutely stinks,” she said.

“Now, it’s just beyond a joke. I’ve never smelt something like that in my life, it’s like the back of a bin truck.”

Now, Darlington Borough Council has been quizzed on whether it is pressuring the Environment Agency enough to stop the stench.

Cllr Roz Henderson. Image: Darlington Borough Council

Cllr Roz Henderson, Green party member for the nearby Harrowgate Hill ward, said: “Darlington residents are concerned, not only because of the smell of rotten eggs, but residents are also worried about the health impact.

“As a council, are we pushing for 24-hour monitoring by the Environment Agency? They did state they wanted this in January but it is not in place at this moment in time. Are we working to ensure the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) monitors health index and risk to health, with this instance of gas exposure, to make sure our residents are safe?”

Cllr Chris McEwan. Image: Darlington Borough Council

Cllr Chris McEwan, cabinet member for economy, said he understood the ‘legitimate concerts’ and said the local authority is working with the appropriate authorities to fix the issues.

The Environemnt Agency said it is monitoring the site daily and work is in place to reduce the odours.

Gary Wallace, area environment manager, said: “Last month we served an enforcement notice setting out remedial action the site needs to take and we continue to monitor the work being carried out by the operator to improve odour management at Aycliffe Quarry Landfill.

“The capping work on three of the landfill cells, causing most of the odour issues, has been completed and we will be assessing them this week. Extra gas extraction wells are being installed across the site and we expect this to be completed next month, followed by further capping work elsewhere on the site.

“While our daily monitoring of the area continues to show this ongoing work is effective at reducing odours, we do plan to install a permanent air monitoring system close to the site to add to our monitoring checks.

“We understand this is distressing for the community and we are committed to ensuring all the remedial work is completed as quickly as possible.”

Anyone experiencing odours can report it by calling 0800 807060.

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