2014 update: Please note that this page, along with many on the site was originally written in 2009 and some of the effects of the landfill have changed in that time. RATS have decided to leave it as it is though as an archived record of what the people of Houghton-le-Spring have suffered over the years.
Litter is a constant problem from the site and sometimes can be very dangerous when large amounts blow onto the A690 disrupting traffic.
As you can see from the picture below, litter regularly blows onto the fence and often blows right over it too. The Environmental Agency say that as long as Biffa are making an attempt to clean this up, there’s nothing they can do. Biffa’s “attempts” usually involve a man in a high visibility jacket wandering around with a bin liner and some grabbers.
Litter can also disrupt traffic on the nearby A690 road. Here are some examples of some of the large pieces of litter that have blown out of the quarry. These are easily big enough to cover the cab of an HGV.
The Great Littering Court Case
The Environment Agency finally decided to take Biffa to court over their littering, but then didn’t proceed to offer any evidence as the officer dealing with the case was ill. We approached the Agency and said that surely they hadn’t been relying on a single officer. They told us they hadn’t so we asked what had happened to the other officer. The Agency went on to explain that he no longer worked for them as he’d accepted a new job – at Biffa as assistant manager of The Quarry!
A 200 year-old hedgerow next to a public footpath by the site became festooned with litter because of Biffa's lack of site cover. It needed a proper clear-up, but Biffa cut the hedge down, even though it was bird-nesting season and did not belong to them! When residents objected, the site manager claimed that 2 Sunderland Council officials, whom he named, had told him that very morning to carry out the work. In fact, both officials had been on holiday all that week.
Here are some Biffa operatives cutting down the 200 year old hedge without permission. If you did this to your neighbor’s hedge without permission, you could be charged with criminal damage!
This is yet more evidence that Biffa are allowed to do exactly as they please and are allowed to get away with it.