Walleys Quarry: Parents of ill boy take quarry owners to High Courton August 18, 2021 at 6:32 am

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A doctor says continued exposure to the air around the quarry will reduce the boy’s life expectancy.


The family of a five-year-old with breathing problems are taking the operators of a nearby landfill site to the High Court.

Doctors for Mathew Richards said the odour from Walleys Quarry in Staffordshire was impairing his health.

A medical report also said there was an excessive amount of respiratory illness and death in the area.

The Environment Agency (EA) and the operator, Walleys Quarry Ltd, said work was continuing to address the issues.

Thousands of complaints have been made about the smell from the site.

Hydrogen sulphide is a poisonous, corrosive gas with an eggy smell.


Mathew, who had chronic lung disease as a baby, lives half a mile from Walleys Quarry and his family believe it has made his condition worse.

“The first three years of his life, we were just [in] hospital, continuously, with chest problems, bronchiolitis, consistent cough,” his mother Rebecca Currie said.

“If we lose I am going to be forced out of my home because there is no way I can keep Mathew around here.”

Rebecca Currie

The family’s case is part of a judicial review set to take place at the court into the EA’s enforcement of the operator Walleys Quarry Ltd.

Campaigners want an immediate stop to landfill activities at the site and for the site to be made safe.

Dr Ian Sinha, from Alder Hay Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, has prepared a report for the judicial review.

He said environmental exposure to H2S (hydrogen sulphide) was significantly impairing Mathew’s current health and quality of life and said continued exposure “will subsequently reduce his life expectancy”.

His report said the levels of hydrogen sulphide from the landfill were high enough to cause airway and lung problems, which poses a particular risk to the elderly and the 1,773 children under the age of five living in the area.

“There is an unexpectedly excessive burden of respiratory illness and death in Silverdale,” he added.

Waste at the site

An EA spokesperson said it had been working in partnership with Public Health England, along with Staffordshire County Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council since March to understand risks posed by the landfill.

“We don’t want the community to continue to suffer from impacts of odour from Walleys Quarry,” it said.

“That’s why we will continue to do the best we can with the powers we have to bring the odour under control.”

Nigel Bowen, CEO of Walleys Quarry Ltd, added following the report from Dr Sinha, it “moved quickly” to seek independent medical opinion and will present the findings at the forthcoming hearing.

“Walleys Quarry Ltd remains committed to doing everything that is within our power to help remedy the situation as soon as possible, working in conjunction with the Environment Agency and other stakeholders,” he said.

“We have every sympathy for the health of Mathew Richards, and the well-being of his family.”

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