Residents whose lives have been made miserable because of a nearby quarry lined the street outside the site in protest against the ‘horrendous’ stench it produces.
‘Stop the Stink’ protesters gathered in outside Walleys Quarry, off Cemetery Road, Silverdale, from shortly before 7am this morning to make their feelings known.
Those in attendance, spread out along the road to social distance, called for action to be taken to resolve an issue which has blighted their lives for the past decade, while passing motorists honked their support.
But RED Industries, which runs the site, say it has been operating well within its environmental permit while an Environmental Agency report gave the quarry a clean bill of health last year.
Newcastle MP Aaron Bell raised the issue in Parliament and Newcastle Borough Council launched a fresh inquiry in August following continued complaints from residents.
Tom Currie, who lives nearby to the site in Silverdale, believes something is going wrong at the quarry to produce such a smell and called for an engineer to be on-site 24 hours a day.
The 34-year-old said: “The message we want to send today is we’re not happy with the smell and the stench that’s coming from the place and we’d like them to do something about it.
“At the very least we’d like an engineer on-site 24 hours a day because we believe there is something going wrong at some point because the smell gets so bad, it can’t be the way it should be.
“The smell is rancid. We can’t block it out. My brother lives up Chesterton and he says you can smell it up there on a good day.
“When it was raised in Parliament, and we thank Aaron Bell we hoped something would get done about it but it doesn’t seem to have happened.
“Nothing has been done and it is getting worse.”
Another resident who joined the protest was 66-year-old Mick Pickerill, from Halfway Place, Silverdale. He said: “I’ve lived in Halfway Place for 50 years and in the last 10 years it’s absolutely been misery.
“For me it’s all about the stink. They keep saying they’ve had these tests, but when people ring up on a daily basis, why don’t they come out on the day’s when we’re reporting it stinks?
“Instead they pick what day they want to come out. The were given a clean bill of health, but what about our health?
“We’re the ones suffering. Does anyone from red Industries live within a three-mile radius? I’m not having a go at the employees who work here, they’ve got their jobs to do, but the people who own the company, how many of them live in this area?
“The smell is like rotten eggs. it’s sickly and on some days you can’t have your doors or windows open it’s that bad. People from the top end of Keele can smell it.”
Marie Cawley, aged 79, from Knutton, added: “It’s unhealthy and at a time like this as well. The smell has been terrible, we can’t have windows open.
“You come out of the house and it hits you. You gag with it sometimes. We come past here every day and the smell as you go past is horrendous.
“We have relations in Newcastle and they smell it. They’ve told us on nice evenings they can’t sit out in their garden.
“They [Environmental Health] just don’t care. They’re doing their job, getting their money and they’re not bothered about anyone else, but I don’t think it’s healthy.
“They say it’s not harmful, but I think it is, especially for people who have breathing difficulties. There is also a mental aspect, having to wake up and smell this all the time.”
StokeonTrentLive has approached RED Industries for a comment on today’s demonstration, but last week defended its operation.
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A spokesman for the company said: “We continue to operate our site compliantly and within the conditions of our environmental permit.
“The Environment Agency published their report last year into ambient air quality in Silverdale, which concluded all emissions are below relevant air quality strategy objectives for human health and environmental assessment levels.
“The safety of all our staff and stakeholders is paramount to us, so we would hope that any planned protest would be conducted legally, responsibly and within the constraints of the guidance to restrict the spread of Covid-19.”
Staffordshire Police attended the scene and advised the protesters on Covid-19 guidelines.