The Environment Agency is investigating ‘foul smells’ from a landfill site after hundreds of complaints those living nearby.

A meeting of Bury Council heard about concerns of odours from the Pilsworth South Quarry landfill site affecting people living in both Bury and Heywood.

Councillors heard that last year, complaints to the Environment Agency (EA) who regulate the site, rose from 100 to 400 and that a petition signed by 2,553 people had demanded action about the acrid smells.

In December, Rochdale Council backed a motion calling for the landfill to be ‘closed and capped off as soon as practicable and before the expiration of the current permit and the operator to have enforcement action taken against them to resolve the concerns of residents’.

Valencia Waste Management Ltd, who operate the site, have apologised to residents and said that engineering works had been completed to improve odour control after being delayed due to the weather.

At a Bury full council meeting this week, cabinet member Alan Quinn spoke about the issue.

He said that said ‘there is probably tonnes and tonnes of rotting food down there which creates methane which is 30 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide’.

He added: “An officer from Bury Council has contacted the EA about the odour problems.

“They have given an assurance that they’re aware and are carrying out an investigation. Local environmental officers, including one from Bury, will meet regarding this.

“It’s the EA’s responsibility but we have been putting pressure on them to do what they can. The council is aware of the Rochdale Council motion and officers have been in contact with public protection colleagues in Rochdale regarding the issues around odours from the site at Pilsworth.

“Bury Council do not have any powers of enforcement to the site. I would just encourage any residents who are experiencing problems to contact the Environment Agency’s incident hotline directly on 0800 80 70 60 to report their concerns.”

A spokesman for the landfill site operator said: “Valencia Waste Management is committed to being a responsible operator and working alongside

our local community in Pilsworth. During recent months, we have been undertaking extensive engineering works on site to improve odour control.

“Unfortunately, the recent extreme weather conditions delayed the completion of these engineering works. The engineering works have now been completed and the odour has been suppressed.

“We are working with the Environment Agency and have undertaken further odour suppression activity to reduce the risk of further odour issues around the site. We would like to take this opportunity to apologies for any disruption caused to local residents during this time.”