‘It smells like rotting flesh and used nappies’ – Mum reveals what life’s really like living 100 metres from landfill site


A mum-of-two living just 100 metres away from a controversial landfill site has likened its smells to ‘rotting flesh’ and a ‘used bag of nappies’.

Suzi and Dan Stringer have just a field between them and Walleys Quarry after moving into their Barnacle Place home, in Newcastle, four years ago.

And she says the smell has got worse since they moved in.

Now Suzi has invested in a £119 air quality sensor – to measure the air quality in her home – and a £35 air purifier.

The 40-year-old said: “On a normal day there is a faint odour like you have left your bin open. But on a bad day, when the wind is blowing from there and there is cold air, it makes you physically wretch and we get really bad headaches.

“When people make deliveries they say ‘what the hell is that smell outside your house?’.

“It smells like faeces, rotting flesh, out-of-date meat, and a used bag of nappies. It’s an eggy smell.

“There’s a certain smell we get every now and again which is a really acrid chemical smell that burns the back of your throat and makes your eyes sting.”

Suzi accepts her family opted to live so close to a landfill site. But she is concerned about the smells getting trapped in residents’ homes.

She added: “When the wind direction changes the smell is gone. But that smell then gets trapped in our homes which is what I want to get through to the Environment Agency.

“We can accept the smell outside because it is not harmful. But my massive concern, and why I have bought this equipment, is what smells are trapped inside our homes.

“I’ve got a constant headache from living next to it and every time anyone comes around it’s embarrassing. The kids don’t want to play outside and some days they don’t want to play inside because it stinks. I have to have candles on.

“I’ve had to purchase an air purifier to be able to live in my own house without gagging when the wind is in the wrong direction.

An air quality sensor

“It makes me want to move house, we would love to move if we could afford it but we don’t have the ability to move.

“People now know Newcastle is the place next to a landfill, they are not going to want to buy a property looking directly onto it.

“When we bought the property we were told the landfill would be winding down in 2020 – and instead the amount of waste has increased.

“We are not making this issue up and we really need people to report it differently and say the smell is trapped in their home rather than just being an outside smell.

“We knew when we bought the house that it’s next to a landfill – we’re not daft. What we didn’t know was that they were going to increase the tonnage and it was going to become such an issue for our health.

“When we first moved here it was almost fascinating watching them work. I understand landfills have got to go somewhere.”

The Environment Agency has received 1,539 complaints about the landfill site in the last 12 months.

It is operated by Red Industries which says its site is complaint with all regulations.

A Red Industries spokesman said: “We continue to operate our site compliantly and within the conditions of our permit. A number of extensive air monitoring studies have been completed in the local area by the Environment Agency.

“These studies have been carried out using the appropriate calibrated specialist scientific equipment controlled and operated by appropriately trained technical specialists. All of these studies have concluded that emissions are below relevant air quality strategy objectives for human health and environmental assessment levels.”

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