Welcome to RATS...


RATS are a group of concerned residents who oppose a toxic landfill in the middle of the town of Houghton Le Spring. The landfill is operated by Biffa Waste Services and regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) and Sunderland City Council. RATS have been established for over 17 years. RATS’ main aims are (and always have been)


• To protect the health of residents in the area

• To protect the environment and water supply


Everything you see on this website is 100% true. We never say anything that we can’t back up with factual evidence.


Over the years, we’ve accrued several damning pieces of evidence that prove that the site is poorly maintained and poorly regulated. It’s also a nuisance and a health hazard and is polluting the environment by contaminating the air and water supply. We’ve presented this evidence to the regulators at the highest levels but it has all been ignored, dismissed or denied, despite how obvious it is.


When RATS first started out, we thought that the tip had been approved merely because Biffa and the regulators didn’t understand the implications of their actions on the water supply and surrounding environment. The more we’ve found out about what’s going on over the years, the more worried we’ve become. Rather than regulating and controlling Biffa, the EA and the City Council appear to be quite happy to let Biffa do as they please and let them get away with it.


There is extensive legislation in the UK that allows the EA to protect residents and the environment by giving them the necessary powers to make operators run sites properly and even force them to close. Over the years, we’ve encountered a strange unwillingness on the part of the EA to apply this to Houghton Quarry, even though they do it throughout the rest of the UK. We can’t understand their reasons for this.


We've recently taken our case to the European Court who were very supportive and are currently taking steps to ensure the site is properly maintained and regulated and that the residents of Houghton and the surrounding area are protected.


This website makes no attacks on any individuals, but it does ask many tough questions about the running and regulating of the landfill as well as the decisions to allow the site in the first place. This website is also to keep local residents and anyone else who is interested, up to date with what we’re doing to fight the landfill. It’s also to give you some facts about just how dangerous this environmental time bomb is.


If you’d like to get in touch with us, please email us on info@houghtonrats.org.uk or join our Facebook group where you’ll also find a discussion forum and receive regular updates.