I have been made aware of concerns raised by residents and subsequently reported in the the Lancashire Evening Telegraph in relation to illegal waste activity and associated nuisance from alleged illegal activity at the former NIPA site at Nook Lane, Oswaldtwistle. A site now owned by Arthur Moreton I believe in a number of companies registered in the Isle of Man.
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Yesterday I visited the site with the Environment Agency and Steve Molyneux who is leading the investigation to access the scale.of the problem. Some 4,000-5,000 bales of waste has been transferred to the site without the necessary authority to do so on this site both in terms of waste disposal and lack planning approval. There is approximately 1.5 tonnes in a bale. It appears to be non-recyclable household residual waste, nappies etc.. and it has allowed a swarm of flies to breed.
From my enquiries I have been assured that the infestation which has caused swarms of flies to descend on nearby households is being treated twice a day with an insecticide to kill flies it comes into contact with. However it will not control the breeding within the waste.
The Environment Agency have been liaising on a regular basis with Hyndburn Council (planning authority) and County Council Planning officers (waste sites authority) to consider remediation options for the existing contamination at the site.
The leader of the Council Miles Parkinson visited the site and explained that through the planning department at the Council, an agreement had been reached for the movement of contaminated material with Blakeys, the originator of the waste and to begin transferring it to Whinney Hill this morning. Lockside, the owners of the site had shown some resistance to access for removal but that appears to have been overcome. The waste is dumped in three areas of the concrete site above the contaminated land and by my estimation it will take some 150 lorry loads to remove it.
There is a deep landfill hole that has been excavated at the bottom of the site and this has been filled partially with some of the waste and covered with top soil. The issue here is that this degraded waste also contains chemically contamination soil from the former works and will require a far more detailed careful removal. The site has by and large a concrete membrane covering it to prevent rainwater channels developing and the chemical contamination seeping into the local waterways particularly Lottice Brook. The incident of flies is minimal here as the top soil prevents breeding.
I believe that early tests from Lottice Brook point to minimal contamination caused by the earth disturbance but it is clear that swift removal of the waste would help reduce the risk of greater levels of contamination.
The Environment Agency are currently investigating these reports of illegal waste deposits at this site and may in light of evidence begin criminal proceedings.
The Council and Council Leader have worked tremendously hard behind the scenes to ensure this situation is not only resolved and the waste removed, but that the site is looked at to see what preventative measures can be taken to prevent future abuses of the site. I now wish to see a thorough investigation into illegal waste dumping and have been informed that the Environment Agency are looking at the evidence.