Whitemoss campaigners call into question statements made by Whitemoss chief
CAMPAIGNERS against the Whitemoss hazardous waste extension at Skelmersdale have called into question a statement made by Rob Routledge, the managing director of the site, who has said: “Whitemoss Landfill is the only hazardous waste landfill in the North-West.”
ARROW (Action to Reduce and Recycle Our Waste) campaigners believe he is wrong, but Mr Routledge has reiterated that Whitemoss “is the only hazardous waste landfill in the North West currently accepting merchant wastes.”
Del Ellis of Arrow said: “Whitemoss Landfill Ltd is incorrect. Environment Agency data show that there are vast quantities of unused space in other hazardous waste landfills in the North West.
“Amazingly, Whitemoss Ltd omitted mentioning Minosus – a gigantic underground hazardous waste site in the Winsford salt mine in Cheshire, with a huge available area.”
Alan Watson is a waste expert and chartered mechanical engineer who advises the Arrow–No Whitemoss Landfill group. He asked Whitemoss Ltd which types of waste, of more than a few tonnes, it takes that Minosus is not able to take.
Del said: “Whitemoss Ltd has consistently avoided answering our question about which waste types (of significant quantities) only Whitemoss can handle. We think this is because there is actually very little. Minosus chose to concentrate mainly on one profitable waste type.”
Campaigners have said most of the hazardous waste going to Whitemoss is contaminated soil, which they say does not need landfilling. Nicola Escott of Arrow said: “It is far safer for residents’ health and less polluting to treat contaminated soil on site to remove the pollutants, than to landfill it. The Whitemoss extension is not needed for recycling brownfield land.”
Nicola commented: “If the Randle site in Merseyside has chosen not to take waste on the open market, this is likely to be because of a lack of demand, not because it is full. It has massive amounts of unused space.”
Rob Routledge responded: "Whitemoss is the only hazardous waste landfill in the North West currently accepting merchant wastes.
"The capacity of the Minosus facility is constrained in many ways including that wastes must be taken down into the mine via a 170 m deep shaft and then transported 2.5 kilometres to their final location.
"The types of waste that can be accepted are also very limited, for example they can’t accept any damp wastes such as contaminated soils. They can also only accept a maximum of 25 vehicles per day.
"Randle Landfill site has been effectively closed as a merchant landfill site since the fourth quarter in 2014. It has no constructed void space which is why in the whole of 2016 it only received 88 tonnes of waste.
"Contaminated soils cannot all be treated and retained on site which is why it is important to have facilities such as Whitemoss. Some contaminants such as asbestos cannot be treated and the treatment of others produces residues which themselves need landfill for disposal. Without suitable landfills new homes would have to be built on green fields because brownfield land could not be brought back into economic use.”
The ruling on the Judicial Review of the Secretary of State’s decision to allow an extension to Whitemoss hazardous waste landfill on the southern edge of Skelmersdale is expected in a few weeks’ time.
The hearing, which took place on March 2, looked at whether the Secretary of State was correct in assuming this particular site is needed.