The Blaydon Quarry landfill, near Gateshead in north England, was closed over Christmas in 2008, but landfill waste was not covered flooding nearby homes with horrible smells.

Gateshead Magistrates Court heard last week the smells were so bad a couple were driven from their home over Christmas.

The site’s operator, Premier Waste Management, admitted not properly covering the site when they appeared in court.

In a case brought by the Environment Agency the court heard the couple, who live just a few metres from the site boundary, noticed large numbers of gulls scavenging and dropping waste on their house and garden as well as leaving large amounts of bird excrement.

The smell and bird noise got so bad by December 26 they decided go out, but on December 27 the couple checked the landfill site and then reported it to the Environment Agency.

Agency solicitor, Jill Fogg, told the court that Premier was warned about failure to cover landfilled waste during an audit by environment officers in October 2008.

It was essential to cover the waste to prevent smells, vermin and birds causing a nuisance to people living in nearby properties.

In mitigation the firm said it took the problem seriously and had changed daily working practices and all drivers were trained before being allowed to work on the landfill.

The company admitted breaching its environment permit contrary to the Environment Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations and the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999. The firm was fined £10,000 and £2610 costs.

Luke Walsh

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