WATCH: Anger as Welbeck Landfill Site operator appeals against waste tipping ban

The operator of a controversial landfill site in Wakefield has appealed against a decision to ban the tipping of waste.

FFC Environment has informed Wakefield Council it is seeking a public inquiry after councillors voted to put a stop to dumping at Welbeck.

The site, which has been in operation for more than 25 years, is due to be transformed into a country park.

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In November, the council’s planning committee rejected the company’s application to extend the life of the site by two more years.

An aerial view of the Welbeck siteAn aerial view of the Welbeck site
An aerial view of the Welbeck site

The decision meant that tipping would have to end on December 31, 2023.

The council today (January 11) confirmed that the operator, also known as Welbeck Waste Management Ltd, has appealed the decision.

A Planning Inspectorate hearing is expected to take place later this year.

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FCC says it needs more time to fill the remaining capacity at the site due to a shortage of materials going to landfill.

The council\'s deputy leader, Jack Hemingway, with RATS president Paul DaintonThe council\'s deputy leader, Jack Hemingway, with RATS president Paul Dainton
The council\'s deputy leader, Jack Hemingway, with RATS president Paul Dainton

The announcement has angered protesters who have campaigned for its closure for decades

Welbeck has been in operation since 1998 amid claims of bad smells, harm to the land, fly infestations, pollution of the River Calder and it being used for dumping animals, including a dead whale.

Residents and protesters were previously given assurances it would finally close in December 2023.

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Paul Dainton, president of Residents Against Toxic Scheme (RATS), said: “The decision to appeal has nothing whatsoever to do with environmental issues.

“It is simply about profit, profit, profit for a few individuals.”

“For 27 years, the local population has endured massive issues of dust, stench, water pollution, litter, endless breaches of rules and continuous fly infestations.

“The decision to appeal the planning application refusal is a disgrace and an affront to local democracy.”

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Mr Dainton said FCC had refused to engage with the community since the decision and has refused share Environment Agency reports with local groups and councillors.

He added: “Wakefield Council should use every legal means possible no matter what the cost to ensure that this legal appeal is refused and that enough is enough.”

Jack Hemingway, deputy leader of Wakefield Council and portfolio holder for climate change, also expressed frustration.

He said: “This is incredibly disappointing news for residents.

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“FCC has yet again failed to recognise, or show any care, for the impact this has on people’s lives and our communities.

“The landfill site has been in operation for more than two decades.

“Extension after extension has taken it way beyond its originally planned life span.

“It has to stop. By refusing the planning application, Wakefield’s planning committee decision stood by local people and I hope the Planning Inspectorate takes this into account when reaching their decision.

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“By stopping tipping and finishing the restoration, FCC can give the community and council the opportunity to nurture an incredible new green space packed with biodiversity, creating our strongest natural defence against the impacts of climate change.”

Joe Jenkinson, the council’s service director for planning said: “We’ve been informed by the Planning Inspectorate that FCC Environment has appealed the unanimous decision made by Wakefield Council’s planning committee, in November 2023, to refuse their application to continue tipping at the Welbeck site.

“FCC has requested a Public Inquiry, which we anticipate will be held in spring or summer this year.”

When contacted, a spokesperson for FCC Environment said it “would not be providing any commentary”.

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All eleven members of the planning committee rejected the application at the meeting two months ago.

Coun Hemingway spoke against the scheme at the time.

He told the meeting: “It’s a story of promises made, of failures to predict waste levels, of extension after extension, far beyond the site’s originally planned operation.

“You have a chance to change that today – to turn something negative for our environment into a positive.

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