Following an increase in reports of the bad odour in Finmere, I have received the following update from the Environment Agency:
We believe the main source of off-site odours to be the delay in remedial work on cell 10. However the operator also identified a specific cause for complaints received on and around 15 January which were associated with movement of wastes from the recycling facility into Cell 11, measures have been put in place to prevent a reoccurrence of that particular issue.
Placement of soils onto Cell 10 have been progressing slowly, in part due to the recent weather conditions. Progress can now be seen in the placement of these soils and the operator has stated that they are making arrangements for the engineering contractors to come onto site to start placing the engineered cap across cell 10 in the next couple of weeks.
Officers from the Environment Agency have been attending the site on a regular basis to monitor the situation, including completing off-site odour checks. Our 24-hour monitoring station, located within the village since January 2020, remains operational to monitor potential emissions. We have, and continue to, utilise all regulatory tools available to us in relation to this site. We continue to explore and pursue all options available to us to ensure that capping works progress as quickly as conditions allow. Further to this we are completing an investigation into the odour issues and are pursuing this matter in accordance with our enforcement and sanctions policy.
Public Health England have confirmed that exposure to odours can adversely affect people's perception of their health and sense of wellbeing. A number of studies have demonstrated that odorous chemicals present at levels which are not considered toxic or irritant can lead to symptoms such as headache, nausea, shortness of breath or sore throats. If you have concerns about the impact of landfills on your health you should contact your General Practitioner.
It remains important that you continue to report the odours to us via our incident hotline - 0800 807060. Our own inspections and odour checks only provide a snapshot of the impact this issue is having, your calls ensure we have an accurate record of the extent of the problem and help us target our investigations.
I am meeting the Environment Agency today to discuss this further, together with representatives from Oxfordshire County Council and the Parish Council liaison group.