The Environment Agency (EA) says odours at a site which has faced widespread complaints over the smell coming from it have reduced.

The government agency, which is overseeing ongoing works at Pilsworth South Landfill by operator Valencia, has reported the number of complaints about odours has gone down significantly in recent weeks. 

The landfill has stopped accepting new waste after more than 1,000 people signed a petition asking for the site to be closed.

Residents say the landfill is the source of “vile” smells affecting those living in parts of both Bury and Rochdale.

The EA has said complaints had dropped from 694 in March, to around 66 this month, up until April 21. 

Overall, the agency has received 2,901 complaints between September 1, 2023 and April 21 2024, the majority of which (1,735) were received in February.  

Since January, the EA has published a monthly newsletter with updates on odour concerns at the landfill.

It says it is meeting regularly with both Bury and Rochdale councils as well as the UK Health Security Agency.

The newsletter added: “Our odour patrols in the local area indicate a reduction in both the intensity and frequency of landfill odour pollution.

“Despite this reduction, we continue to robustly challenge the site operator to continue to make further improvements to their operations.”

However, Valencia, has responded to a rise in complaints last week following a “fault” to its gas collection system.

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Valencia said the odour had been caused by a partial blockage to a gas collection system after a pump had failed, causing a build-up of liquid.

The company said the blockage was cleared and the pump replaced in the early hours of Friday, April 26.

Valencia issued an update on a dedicated Facebook page for the landfill earlier this week, telling residents it had resolved an issue which had several odour complaints.

A spokesperson for Valencia said: “At around 11pm on April 25, our central control room in Oxfordshire, that continuously monitors all our landfill gas generating plants on a 24/7 basis, detected an issue at Pilsworth.

“We deployed an on-call engineer to investigate the fault immediately.

"Once the engineer had stabilised the gas extraction plant, it was determined that the constant volume from the gas field had reduced and there was a restriction to flow.

"As soon as there was enough natural light to investigate the gas field, it was found that there was a partial blockage on part of the gas collection system, caused by freezing weather.

“A pump had failed, which caused the gas collection system to become partially blocked by a liquid called condensate, which forms in all gas collection systems on landfill sites as landfill gas cools.

“This was cleared and the pump replaced by 7am on April 26, and gas extraction had returned to normal levels by 10.50am.”

Valencia said the issue had been caused by freezing weather and added it had installed additional frost protection.

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It added that the capping and gas collection system installed to help reduce odour at the site is working well and that its engineers are now focusing on minor repairs and “snagging issues".

The statement added: “We expect these minor snagging works to continue for the next couple of weeks.

“The site remains closed to waste inputs, and we continue to source restoration material used to cover and stabilise the capping material.”