Bletchley Landfill Site

Closes 28 Mar 2025

Opened 13 Dec 2023

Overview

Welcome to Bletchley Landfill Site community briefing page

As the primary regulator of Bletchley Landfill, we publish this page to share information about the landfill site and to outline some of our activities to keep the public informed. We aim to provide updates monthly.

Our Objective

We are responsible for granting or refusing environmental permits, setting the conditions, and making sure that permit holders comply with them. We carry out periodic audits and inspections to check that the operators are complying with their permit conditions. We investigate complaints of odour and make sure the operator is taking measures to prevent or minimise odours offsite. If a breach of permit conditions is identified we will investigate and take appropriate enforcement action; this action can range from advice and guidance through to prosecution for serious offences.

The Site

Bletchley landfill is a regulated facility that is managed and operated by FCC Waste Services (UK) Limited under Permit EPR/BM4635IH. The site is a former clay extraction quarry associated with brick making. The current permit allows the operation of:

  • landfilling 
  • leachate treatment facility that discharges to sewer
  • use of spark ignition engines to generate electricity from the landfill gas extracted from the site. 

Map indicating landfill site location

Current Situation

We have been receiving significant numbers of malodour complaints since the start of October 2023. These generally come in large numbers when the wind direction is blowing towards the Newton Leys development.

October 2023

November 2023

December 2023

January 2024

February 2024

March 2024

April 

2024

May 2024

261

444

81

48

5

1 3  

April 2024 Update:

Three reports of malodour received for April.

We continue to receive weekly updates from the site operator regarding ongoing works to control odours from the activities.

March 2024 Update:

One report of malodour received for March.

Our officers undertook an inspection on 20 March to review and discuss the odour control measures currently being employed by the site operator.

We have also started an audit of waste acceptance procedures for the site and this work will continue into April.

February 2024 Update:

We received a total of 5 malodour reports during February.

An off-site assessment of odour and an inspection of the landfill were completed on 22 February. Some transient low-level odours were detected off-site and traced to an area on the landfill where FCC were undertaking some work in relation to landfill gas management.

We continue to monitor the situation closely and are receiving regular updates from the operator detailing measures taken on site.

January 2024 update:

Following a peak in reports of malodour during the first week, there was a notable improvement for the rest December.

We inspected the landfill and surrounding areas on 19 December to review the operators’ progress with their improvements ahead of the Christmas shut down. Our off-site odour assessment detected a very faint and intermittent landfill gas odour on Longships Drive; no other off-site odours were detected. Our inspection of the landfill found the site operator had continued with placement of temporary plastic capping, with approximately 98,000m2 completed by 22/12/23, and had installed additional gas extraction. No odours were detected across the areas we inspected.

The operator has continued to undertake improvement works and have reported completion of the following during the first two weeks in January:

  • Continued with temporary capping work.
  • Installation of gas extraction within the new tipping area.
  • Installed contingency infrastructure to help maintain gas extraction in freezing conditions.

We received 36 complaints over the 16 and 17 January and our officers attended the area in the afternoon of 17 and morning of 18 January. Off-site assessments of odour were undertaken on both days, and an inspection of the landfill was completed on the morning of 18 January. No significant odours were detected off-site, or on the landfill. Our landfill inspection however has confirmed the most likely cause of the malodours detected by the community to be due to the failure of the seal around a well on cell 6. This issue was identified by the site operator on the morning of 17 January and immediately addressed, which would account for the lack of malodour during our off-site check later that day. 

We continue to monitor the situation closely and are receiving regular updates from the operator detailing measures taken on site.

December update:

Our role as an environmental regulator is to work with people and businesses. We provide advice and guidance and help them do the right thing for people and the environment. Where there’s a threat to people or the environment that can’t be resolved, we can use our enforcement powers, which can include prosecution.

Our focus at Bletchley has been on addressing the malodour issues, which we are doing through our regulatory inspections.

We are also ensuring that any information that we gather during this time is collected and processed in a manner that will allow us to use it for enforcement purposes should we decide to pursue a prosecution.

Where we identify issues at Bletchley landfill site, we will direct the operator to resolve the non-compliance before taking any legal action as this can be lengthy and expensive for the taxpayer.

The operator has taken steps to move out of the operational area where we had identified the most significant emissions to be from.

Actions they have taken to tackle to source of the odours include:

  • Revised phasing plan – the operator has taken the decision to close, and temporary cap the entire operational area. Tipping is now taking place in a smaller cell more centrally located within the site and an operational cell management plan is in place for this activity.
  • Placed over 77,000m2 of temporary plastic capping across the previous operational area to seal it and improve gas collection. This work is ongoing.
  • Installed a new carrier main to improve gas collection from the affected areas.
  • Installed additional scavenger wells to collect landfill gas.
  • Submitted a construction quality assurance plan for additional permanent gas extraction wells, with 3 wells installed last week.
  • Made improvements to the seals around leachate wells across the former operational area.
  • Installation of rain flaps for surface water control.

What have we done?

  • Regular assessments of odour to confirm the extent, severity, and source of the odours.  
  • Regular inspections of the landfill to assess the sources and underlying causes of the odour and to monitor actions being taken by the operator to address the issue.
  • Regular liaison with the site operator. This includes assessing the improvements they are implementing on site to ensure they are, and will, continue to be effective, but also looking at whether they have appropriate management systems in place for their proposed changes to operations.

Findings from all inspections are detailed within our Compliance Assessment Report Forms (CAR). We use our guidance on assessing and scoring environmental permit compliance to score permit breaches in accordance with our Compliance Classification Scheme (CCS).

The risk category and score we give a non-compliance reflects the potential impact it could have if it were not addressed promptly and adequately. The only exception is for non-compliances relating to amenity conditions - odour, dust, noise, and pests. We categorise the risk and score these according to their actual (rather than potential) impact. Further details on this can be found in our FAQs.

Copies of our Compliance Assessment Forms (CAR) forms will be available on the public register 28 days after they are issued to the operator, a period given to them to challenge the content within the report. If they choose to challenge our report this will delay the release. Once a CAR is available on the public register, we will also provide copies on this page.

Has the operator breached their permit?

Providing the operator uses appropriate measures to prevent, or where not practical, minimise off site odour annoyance, they will not breach their permit. The landfilling of waste by its very nature is an odorous activity and therefore will generate periodic odours that can be associated with changing weather conditions; however, this should not be a sustained event.

The odours experienced by residents of the Newton Leys’ area, and the odours substantiated by our officers, are not acceptable. We have identified sources of the odour on the landfill, and associated management failures, these are being identified in our CAR forms as breaches of the Environmental Permit.

The scores associated with these breaches of the permit will lead to an increased subsistence charge for the site and is based on the polluter pays principle.

We have not ruled out taking enforcement action at this time, as such we are unable to provide detailed information or specific updates on the underlying causes of these permit breaches, beyond the information contained within our CAR forms. This includes timescales for completion of any investigations.

Any enforcement action will be taken in line with the Environment Agency’s Enforcement and Sanctions Policy. The policy outlines a range of available enforcement options that can be applied. The decision to pursue enforcement will depend on factors including (but not limited to) intent, foreseeability, financial implication, attitude, and previous history.

Concerned about the site – who to contact:

If the intensity and duration of odour is such that it is offensive to you or is affecting your lifestyle, please call our free 24-hour incident hotline number: 0800 807060.

When you call our hotline about odour please provide as much of the information as you can:

  • When you first noticed the problem.
  • How long it lasted.
  • When was it at its worst and is it still occurring?
  • Where you noticed it.
  • What were the weather conditions like.
  • What it smelt like.
  • Is the problem constant or intermittent?
  • The intensity of the odour on a scale of 1-6.

Please use our numerical intensity of the odour categories:

0 - No odour

1 - Very faint odour

2 - Faint odour

3 - Distinct odour

4 - Strong odour

5 - Very strong odour

6 - Extremely strong odour

What happens when you report a problem?

We log all calls even though we may not be able to send an officer out to the site.

Reports are passed to the operator to start investigations; personal data is never supplied on these reports. Depending on the circumstances we will also attend to assess the odour and identify any potential sources. Whilst we cannot look at all reports immediately, prompt reporting ensures that we are able to target our site visits appropriately and provides us the best chance of identifying any potential source and associated actions. 

Your reports provide valuable data on the nature and scale of the problem, and we appreciate the effort you take in passing them to us.

See our attachement section below for previous briefing notes and frequently asked questions. 

 

 

How can I find out more?

Please check this page as we aim to update with information as often as possible. 

Audiences

  • Businesses
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • Environment Agency customers

Interests

  • Waste
  • Installation
  • Specific projects, issues, or activity pages