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An Eye on Our Environment 320 tonnes removed from Droylsden waste site
Thursday 1st November 2018 @ 11:21 by Tom Greggan
Droylsden Tameside

In his latest column for the Tameside Reporter, the Environment Agency’s Area Director for Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire, Lee Rawlinson talks the work done to remove a huge quantity of waste from Gartside Farm in Droylsden. 

There is no doubt that as a population, we are becoming more health focused and, if you are anything like me, staying healthy by getting outdoors and exploring all that our fantastic region has to offer always seems like a great idea; particularly as we head into the spectacular autumnal season.

Enjoying fresh, clean air is something many of us take for granted so, for a moment, spare a thought for the residents of Droylsden who have been plagued with a bad smell for months now as a result of an illegal waste site.

320 tonnes of waste, that plagued Droylsden with a horrible smell, have been removed from Gartside Farm

If you’ve ever lived near an illegal waste site, I don’t need to remind you how bad the experience can be. Illegal waste sites are not just an issue of looking untidy. They affect people’s health, wellbeing and quality of life.  They’re unsightly and smelly but more importantly, they endanger the environment and can put lives at risk.

There is no good side to waste crime. Ultimately, it damages our economy – costing the treasury up to £1 billion a year – and destroys our communities. In Greater Manchester alone there are 27 illegal waste sites and as the Environment Agency, we see the repercussions they cause on a daily basis.

But, for the residents of Droylsden, it seems as though at last we are winning the war on illegal waste! The landowner is now clearing the site by paying a permitted operator to come and remove the waste. In a nutshell, this means that Wheeldon Brothers Waste Ltd have been contracted by the landowner, who are working alongside our Enforcement Officers to ensure the removal is completed to our satisfaction.

In Greater Manchester alone there are 27 illegal waste sites.

This work started just a couple of weeks ago and to date approximately 320 tonnes of waste has now been removed! While this is no doubt good news for residents, we still have work to do with Gartside and it is vital to keep the current momentum going to ensure all the odorous waste is taken away and disposed of correctly and responsibly.

Throughout the whole process, we have been on site every single week and updated residents wherever possible. Another positive side to the saga is that we are in continuous talks with the landowner of Gartside Farm and we are still providing advice and guidance with regards to the removal of the waste.

Whether the peaceful progress made so far at Gartside Farm encourages those running the other 26 illegal waste sits across Greater Manchester to reconsider their actions remains to be seen. It does however, provide a great incentive to improve waste practices and timely reminder that we, as the Environment Agency, will continue to up the ante and pursue all avenues to hold the culprits to account.

I like to end on a lighter note by extending a huge thank you to the residents of Droylsden who have taken the time to write us letters of support regarding our efforts around Gartside Farm. We always love to hear from members of the communities we serve so if you feel like sharing a story or comment with us, do get in touch on the details below.

To me, that seems like a fitting finale to this month’s column. I look forward to sharing more of our activities in and around Tameside with you all in November.

Lee Rawlinson is the Area Director for the Environment Agency’s Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire region. You can get more information about the work of the Environment Agency or what’s going on in your area by following us on Twitter @EnvAgencyNW.