The Environment Agency allowed thousands of tonnes of human waste to de dumped on former quarries at Wroxton because it did not know the land would be used for farming, it has emerged.
Contractors Acumen waste Services Ltd had applied for a permit from the agency on behalf of quarrying firm Peter Bennie Ltd to begin a second phase of spreading bio solids on former quarry sites off the Stratford Road.
But on September 3 the Environment Agency wrote to the contractors stating the permit applied for does not allow the spreading of “sewage sludge” for restoring land that is “intended to be brought back into agricultural use”’ .
The Environment Agency advised Acumen an alternative permit might be more suitable but would still not permit the large quantities of sewage the firm wants to spread.
In the same statement the Environment Agency admitted the first phase of spreading, which took place between August 2012 and August 2013 with 40-50,000 tonnes of bio solids spread on the quarries by previous contractors, also fell outside regulations which aim to prevent human waste being used on land which will later be farmed
The agency stated: “The previous deployment which ran August 2012-2013 was not within the set of standard rules we applied due to the proposed end use of the site
“However the operator could have carried out the same operation with a different end use (ie. non-agricultural) or under a different permit, for example a bespoke permit with different conditions.”
The agency appears to have overlooked the fact the land was to be returned to farmland when it granted the original permit last year.
The statement continues: “Having received the original application we did not confirm the proposed use of the quarry.
“With this additional information we would not have issued the original permit.”
The first phase of spreading also fell outside planning regulations for the quarry and Peter Bennie Ltd has now lodged a planning application in an attempt to gain retrospective permission for the already completed spreading by varying the conditions to allow the use of bio solids.
Wroxton Parish Council chairman Bob Jesson said the council remains opposed to the dumping because of the precedent it may set.
He said: “We’re opposed to the depositing of this material in the quantity that has been previously used because it is not within the condition that were originally agreed for the restoration of the quarry.”
Strong opposition was raised by residents and the parish council with concerns about unpleasant odours, large HGVs transporting the waste through the village and the impact on water quality on homes which are supplied from a well below the quarry.
Wroxton resident Graham Paxton said he and others will continue to fight the plans.
“They’re only delaying it aren’t they, they’re still going to do it,” he said. The planning application will be considered on October 21. Peter Bennie Ltd did not provide a comment at the time of going to press.