Investigation into illegal dumping of 122,000 tonnes of waste at former Whittlesey brickworks nears an end

An investigation into the illegal dumping of more than 122,000 tonnes of waste is nearing an end.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 5:00 am

Between October 2017 and February 2018, the waste was buried at the former Saxon Pit brickworks in Whittlesey.

The Environment Agency said the unlawful action was carried out by current operators East Midlands Waste Management Ltd, but it has allowed for the materials to remain in place since then for several reasons, including fears of “stability concerns” if works to remove it took place.

However, the public body has said that it is awaiting new gas and water monitoring reports from the operators this month, after which time it will be decided what remedial works will begin.

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The former Saxon Pit brickworks in Whittlesey

It said: “The start of these works will be subject to planning and to the availability of suitable waste material,” but that once completed the scheme should “provide ecological benefit, including standing water environments, reed beds, grassland and scrub habitat.

“The site may then be open for public access.”

The time taken for action to begin has frustrated MP for North East Cambridgeshire Steve Barclay, who recently said: “While Environment Agency investigations have been ongoing, the news that samples contained enough chemicals to make them hazardous have been a constant worry to the community.”

Last year, plans for a large recycling facility at the site which would handle 500,000 tonnes a year were put forward, but Mr Barclay added: “It is simply not acceptable for residents that, after almost three years, there is still no outcome regarding the unlawful waste, yet new permits are being considered. 

“I am co-operating with local councillors to see what action can be taken to push this forward. The Environment Agency need to do more to address the legitimate concerns of residents, and I will continue to raise this issue with them.”

The new recycling plant has been proposed by Johnsons Aggregates And Recycling Ltd which said its current sites in Bunny, Nottingham, and Ilkeston are reaching capacity.

The proposed facility would be near the King’s Dyke Level Crossing where a bridge is currently being built to reduce congestion.